Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that Royal Challengers Bangalore's (RCB) strange decision to send Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube to bat ahead of AB de Villiers could have resulted in their total falling short by 20-25 runs.
He made this observation while reviewing the Virat Kohli-led side's last-ball IPL 2020 defeat against the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra started by questioning the RCB strategy of shielding AB de Villiers against the KXIP leg-spinners:
"Where was AB de Villiers. He was not sent, he was being shielded against the leg-spinners. Is that the right thing to do?"
The reputed commentator pointed out that RCB had gotten most things right, batting first after winning the toss and getting off to an explosive start.
"Till now RCB was doing everything right. They played absolutely the correct team, they won the toss and batted first, which was absolutely perfect. They scored 57 runs in the first 6 overs, which is outstanding. So, it was a very good start, a blazing start, which was what we want."
"But after that they lost the wickets. Kings XI Punjab had played two leg-spinners - Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi - they had not played Mujeeb. First Washington Sundar comes and after that Shivam Dube comes."
The former KKR player reasoned that AB de Villiers had shown his class in the last encounter on the same ground with his blazing knock, a pitch on which no one else was able to time the ball.
"I mean they kept AB de Villiers in the dugout till probably the 17th over, a player who was in a different league altogether in the last match when everyone else was struggling."
Aakash Chopra on the repercussions for RCB due to AB de Villiers batting down the order
Aakash Chopra reiterated that it was a bizarre decision by RCB to not send AB de Villiers just because a couple of leg-spinners were bowling at the time. To draw parallels, he even quoted Sunil Gavaskar by stating that the Little Master himself should never have opened for India, considering the number of times he was dismissed by an out-swinger.
"We didn't see him probably because there were two leg-spinners. I mean this was bizzare. At the time I was in commentary and Sunil Gavaskar had said that he should have never opened because he had been dismissed off an out-swinger many times."
While acknowledging that the South African batting genius' numbers may not be great against leg-spinners, Chopra pointed out that RCB ended up 20-25 runs short in their final total because of this absurd decision.
"AB de Villiers has been dismissed by leg-spinners few times, he has an average of something like 6-6.5 against the googly and has been out 7 times, so just because of the numbers sending him so low down in the batting order meant that RCB ended up 20-25 runs short."
The 43-year-old added that the RCB lower-order batsmen's ability to score 24 runs off the last over demonstrated that it was a good pitch and that they could have gotten to a score of 185-190 if they had followed the correct batting order.
"You may have reached a score of 171 at the end but that was never going to be enough. You managed to score 24 runs in the last over, so you reached that score but if 24 runs can be scored in the last over means that this pitch was maybe not 200, but a 185-190 sort of pitch with the kind of batting that Bangalore has."
Aakash Chopra signed off by reiterating that the decision to hold back AB de Villiers had backfired for RCB.
"So, according to me this strategy to hold AB de Villiers back just did not work out."
RCB had reached a score of 62/2 at the fall of Aaron Finch's wicket. Washington Sundar (13 runs off 14 deliveries) and Shivam Dube (23 runs off 19 balls) could not provide the innings the required momentum, despite a couple of sixes that the latter struck.
With AB de Villiers coming in to bat only in the 17th over, he did not have too many deliveries left to display his magic and was dismissed after scoring just a couple of runs. RCB managed to reach a score of 171/6 in their 20 overs, which was chased down by Kings XI Punjab in the final delivery of their innings.
Published 16 Oct 2020, 12:14 IST