Talking points from Bangalore's scintillating win over Rajasthan
A remarkable chase from Bangalore saw them scoop up their sixth win from nine games so far in the Indian T20 League while by contrast, Rajasthan fell further by the wayside, licking their chops after enduring their sixth defeat in as many matches.
Here are the key talking points from the contest:
Robin Uthappa back to his best?
It was back in 2018 when Robin Uthappa last opened an innings in the Indian T20 League. On Saturday, Rajasthan decided to use Jos Buttler’s hard-hitting prowess late in the game, a decision that paid different dividends as while Uthappa and Ben Stokes stitched together a 52-run stand for the first wicket; their third-highest score in the Powerplay overs of the season, Buttler failed to get the run-rate going. It was, in fact, the first 50-run opening wicket partnership for Rajasthan of the 2020 season.
Uthappa had an underwhelming start to the new Indian T20 League season, failing to reach double figures in each of his first three innings (5 against Chennai, 9 against Punjab and 2 against Kolkata). In the last two innings, however, the veteran has accumulated more runs than he did in his first five appearances, showing signs of his previous self by hitting 32 off 27 balls against Delhi and a fantastic 22-ball 41 against Bangalore on Saturday. Has this shift in the line-up helped the former Kolkata batsmen? Only the time will tell. As things stand, Rajasthan can only hope he continues to wreak havoc going forward.
Chris Morris: Bangalore’s unassailable man-machine
After both Uthappa and Stokes had set the impulse, it was Chris Morris who got the breakthrough in the final Powerplay over, dismissing a dangerous Ben Stokes with a cheeky delivery. It was all Yuzvendra Chahal’s brilliance afterwards but Morris once again stepped up in the second half of the play to finish with figures of 26/4. In his last four innings, the 33-year-old South African has picked nine wickets, including a three-for against Chennai.
On Saturday, Morris ended his innings as the most economical bowler amongst his teammates, outlining why Bangalore were right to splash out INR 10 crores on him during the auctions. The third most expensive buy of the 2020 auction, Morris has rightly silenced those who questioned why he is worth that kind of money by delivering since his first game of the season. As things stand for the South African, he is bowling at 5.25 runs per over and takes a mere 10.6 balls per wicket.
A further bifurcation reveals that he is bowling at an impressive economy of 3.3 in the middle overs and 6.4 in the death, where he has picked seven of his nine wickets.
Time for Bangalore to drop Finch?
Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch was bought by Bangalore for INR 4.4 crores in order to give Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers a much-needed breather. The duo has been carrying the team’s batting fortune since a long time, and while Finch has well and truly showed glimpses of his viciousness this season, he has been more of a miss than a hit as he has failed to cross the 20-run mark in six of his nine innings so far (20 vs Punjab, 8 vs Rajasthan, 13 vs Delhi, 2 vs Chennai, 20 vs Punjab, 14 vs Rajasthan).
Opening the batting with a young Devdutt Padikkal, Finch is tasked to give his team a headstart on the back of which the middle-order can build the rest of the innings. Contrary to what is expected, the Australian has failed to deliver at times and maybe it is high time for Bangalore to bring in Moeen Ali instead.
Table: Aaron Finch's dismissals in the Indian T20 League 2020.
Including the England all-rounder would push captain Virat Kohli to the opening slot, a place where he has thrived to perfection. The skipper, alongside Padikkal, would work on setting a healthy score in the Powerplay overs and Ali would then do his job in the second half of the play. The 33-year-old’s inclusion will also give Bangalore an added option in the bowling.
AB de Villiers eclipses 4000-run mark for Bangalore
Although Rajasthan seemed to have mired Bangalore's men in treacle, AB de Villiers was not one to be contained. Whacking a magnificent 55 off 22 balls, laced with a boundary and six maximums, included the match-clinching six at the end, de Villiers carried Bangalore to the win. In doing so, he managed to surpass 4000 runs scored for Bangalore in the Indian T20 League, becoming only the second player overall and the first foreign player to do so.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / Indian T20 League