India had decided to drop a struggling KL Rahul for the final T20I. Virat Kohli came to open the innings and blazed his way to 80 not out from 52 balls.
When Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) face Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL 2021 opener on Friday, Virat Kohli will step out to open the innings, possibly with Devdutt Padikkal. The youngster recently tested negative for COVID-19 after initially testing positive.
Virat Kohli had opened the innings for RCB back in 2016. He had a record-breaking season as he amassed 973 runs in 16 games.
What can MI do to see the back of Virat Kohli early?
Here are a few tactics MI can try out with their bowlers in their endeavor to dismiss Virat Kohli cheaply.
#1 Jasprit Bumrah’s unplayable yorker
MI pacer Jasprit Bumrah is undoubtedly one of the best exponents of the yorker in the modern game. Season after season, he has produced some unplayable block-hole deliveries.
Last year, Bumrah came up with what was arguably the ball of the tournament. He bowled a searing yorker to Shikhar Dhawan that had the batsman in a complete tangle and ended up disturbing his furniture.
Sometimes great players can get out to average deliveries. Most often though, bowlers need to produce something exceptional to get rid of the very best.
Virat Kohli is undoubtedly a modern-day legend across formats. Who better than Bumrah to produce that spectacular delivery? If Bumrah manages to slip in that perfect ball, even a batsman of Virat Kohli’s caliber could find himself in trouble.
#2 Trent Boult moving the ball away at an awkward angle
Good left-arm pacers have the ability to make life difficult for right-handers by bowling at an awkward angle. The ball would pitch on middle and move away just enough, forcing the batsman to play at it.
If the pacer has got it spot on, the delivery will either beat the bat and hit the off-stump (in rare cases the middle) or take the outside edge on its way to the keeper or slips.
In the IPL 2020 final, MI’s left-arm seamer Trent Boult bowled one such gem to get rid of the in-form Marcus Stoinis first ball. The delivery pitched short of a length and moved away.
It rose as it headed towards Stoinis. Cramped for room, the DC batsman jabbed at it to give a simple catch behind the stumps.
Boult could attempt something similar against Virat Kohli. If the MI pacer can get the ball to move away at that awkward angle, he could have a chance of catching the RCB skipper in no man’s land.
#3 Try Rahul Chahar’s leg-spin early
This move is basically about playing on Virat Kohli’s psyche. It is no secret that the Indian captain has struggled against leg-spin recently. If it was Adam Zampa earlier, Adil Rashid had Virat Kohli’s number when England took on India recently.
The Indian legend has rarely looked as uncertain against any bowler as he did against Rashid. The leggie bamboozled him with his variations and Virat Kohli clearly wasn’t comfortable.
Young Rahul Chahar is not in the same league as Rashid. He is highly inexperienced in comparison and is still learning the tricks of the trade.
However, one thing that has been amply evident about Chahar in his short career is that he won’t go down without a fight.
In the T20I series, with Yuzvendra Chahal struggling, Chahar came in and bowled a defining spell in the fourth match. He got rid of Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow as India eked out an eight-run victory.
Virat Kohli will undoubtedly have the upper hand in this clash. One thing is for sure though, Chahar will enjoy the massive challenge and try to make the best of the opportunity.