- May 15
- 03:31 AM
Long tournaments expose chinks in batting order
As we move on in the Indian T20 League, some chinks are starting to appear in hitherto invincible line-ups and some others are discovering the best combination. That is a huge factor when you play a long tournament like this.
My first assessment of Team Delhi was that they were a little top heavy. That got covered by Virender Sehwag’s blistering form but also by the impact Kevin Pietersen made. They were always going to be vulnerable if the top order failed and it was that hole in the middle that got exposed in the game against Kolkata even though they got to 40 in three-and-a-half overs. The top order always scores a majority of the runs but with Delhi I suspect the proportion may be a little too high for comfort. This is further evident in Delhi’s Batting Momentum; according to the Castrol Index, they have 64 points in Quick Start Overs as opposed to 52 points overall. And we saw that against Chennai too. For them to continue making an impact, Mahela Jayawardene should have a great run from now and Irfan Pathan must finish strongly. Of course Sehwag and Warner could just take the opposition attack apart, as the latter did against Hyderabad, but that cannot be the only winning formula.
So too with the Bangalore team for whom Chris Gayle is simply having the most astonishing tournament. His 82 from 59 balls made the match against Mumbai a stroll in the park. I believe Bangalore have now made peace with the fact that they don’t really have all-rounders and have started playing 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers. So far it seems to be working with either Gayle or AB de Villiers winning games for them. If Virat Kohli strikes form, they will be safer but otherwise they look vulnerable in that area too. Maybe that is why Gayle is starting a lot more cautiously, aware of the fact that he cannot lose his wicket. If anything, that is making him even more dangerous. He currently tops the Batting Momentum charts on the Castrol Index with 67 points. Of course field restrictions don’t matter to him at all since he just hits the ball out of the ground.
By contrast, Mumbai continue to rotate the opening partnership like children do their toys. Maybe it was because Herschelle Gibbs was injured but it meant that the top order was doing exactly the reverse of what it was for Delhi and Bangalore; not scoring enough and in any case, being very slow going about it. Against Kolkata, Gibbs showed the value of an opener staying there. In that match, Gibbs notched up 55 Batting Momentum points and was Mumbai’s second Top Performer with 43 points on the Castrol Index. There is more pedigree in that top seven than in any other team and if they can get their bowling sorted (Harbhajan must bowl 4 overs most games), and can look more relaxed going about their work, they could just find themselves peaking at the right time.
So too with Chennai who were making somnolence their identity. When they came out firing they looked a different side but almost got done in by a bizarre batting display against Jaipur. Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, they were bailed out by some big hitting at the end but there is little doubt they are playing better in the second half than in the first.
Posted by Harsha Bhogle on 05/15 at 03:31 AM
Harsha Bhogle is a very popular cricket thinker, commentator and writer from India. In 1991-92, he became the first Indian commentator to be invited by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation during India's cricket series before the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Harsha Bhogle has also been strategic advisor to the Mumbai Indians team of the Indian Premier League. Known for his incisive comments and honest yet kind commentary on cricket and cricketers, Harsha is one of the brightest intellects the game has been blessed with in its long history. Much like its ambassador, Castrol is known to be a trusted teller of truth. Castrol works closely with its consumers and customers and with the help of honest and clear communication, tells the story as it is. Always helping improve performance and always helping its customers win.Less