IPL 2019: Match 31, Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – Misreading the surface

IPL 2019: Match 31, Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – Misreading the surface

Mumbai Indians chased down the target of 172 with five overs and six wickets to spare.

Quinton de Kock Mumbai Indians
Quinton de Kock. (Photo: Sandip Mahankal/IANS)

Chasing is an easier option at the Wankhede is what Rohit Sharma stated after electing to bowl first and Virat Kohli seconded that. But the way the ball was turning in the 2nd innings came out of syllabus and favoured the visiting team who had a variety of spin bowling options. However, RCB couldn’t utilize that either and went down against the hosts by six wickets. Given the tactics implemented by both the teams, the question arises whether the teams actually expected the pitch to turn the way it did which didn’t seem like a possibility until the second half of the MI innings.

What Rohit missed?

Rohit Sharma is one of the few captains who gives importance to the match-ups. However, on Monday, the MI skipper overlooked that and also the turn provided by the surface. He gave Rahul Chahar four straight overs during the middle phase but Krunal Pandya bowled only one over that too the 15th over of RCB’s innings.

On a gripping surface, Krunal could have been handy against AB de Villiers who has been getting out to spin more often recently. Coming into the game, De Villiers was dismissed on as many as 11 instances by the spin bowlers since 2018 but got out only three times to the pacers in this period. Krunal dismissed ABD four times in four innings for 33 runs in 32 balls between 2016 and 2017.

During their 5th meeting which was during this season in Bangalore, AB played out the left-arm spinner scoring only eight runs from nine balls. Instead of handing the ball to Krunal, the MI captain Rohit Sharma decided to chip in a couple of overs from Hardik Pandya. The presence of the left-hander Moeen Ali could also be one of the reasons for not bringing in the left-armer.

What Kohli could have done?

Given the way the duo of Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma have batted in the last few games, RCB needed to break the stand early by introducing the spinners. Since the start of 2018, De Kock has scored 197 runs against spinners in the IPL and has been dismissed on six instances. The South African has a S/R of only 123 against the spin bowlers in this period but scores at a S/R of 138.3 against the pacers.

The keeper-batsman struggled against the variations of the leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal in the last game. His opening partner and the skipper Rohit has also had a fair share of troubles against the spin bowlers recently. The duo enjoyed the pace coming on to the bat and added 70 runs in only seven overs before both fell to Moeen Ali in the 8th over. This quick-fire start came back to haunt RCB as the spinners had too fewer runs to defend.

Another talking point of this game was RCB handing the 19th over to Pawan Negi. Ashish Nehra, the bowling coach, put pressure on Virat Kohli with his gestures after the 18th over to make Negi bowl the penultimate over. However, being a captain, Virat must be well aware of his Indian team-mate Hardik Pandya’s hitting skills against the spinners and the sort of damage he could do on his day.

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