IPL 2019: Match 34, DC vs MI – Mumbai Indians miss the power-hitting strategy

Mumbai won but could've scored more runs if not for their strategic miss.

Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Sampath Bandarupalli

Sr. Statistician

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Mumbai Indians needed to adjust to the Feroz Shah Kotla track to have a chance to defeat the Delhi Capitals. With Ishan Kishan being sick, MI got a chance to bring in the dangerous Ben Cutting and off-spinner Jayant Yadav replaced Jason Behrendroff. Jayant was included in the playing XI as the home team had as many as four left-handers in their top six. MI decided to bat first given the chances of the pitch getting slower as the game progresses.

They posted 168/5 in their 20 overs what deemed to be a match-winning one thanks to the 50 runs across the last three overs. MI could have ended up with a bigger total if not for a goof up during the middle-overs. They made a surprise move by sending Ben Cutting at No.3 after a 57-run powerplay. The move didn’t come out really well as Cutting could score only two runs. Rohit Sharma reasoned the move as using power-hitters against the spinners when the ball is nice and hard.

Why sending Cutting at No.3 wasn’t a good move?

Ben Cutting is one of the best power-hitters against the pacers around the globe but finds himself ordinary against the spin bowlers. On a turning track that too against the likes of Amit Mishra and Axar Patel, Cutting was almost a walking wicket. With Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris and Keemo Paul reserved for the backend, Cutting’s ability would have come in handy. In the IPL, the Australian all-rounder has scored only 38 runs at an average of 7.6 from the 32 balls he faced from the spinners ahead of this game.

He was dismissed on as many as five occasions by the spin bowlers including four times to the wrist spinners. However, Cutting has a strike-rate of 181.25 in the death overs (16-20 overs) in the IPL where he scored 203 runs with 11 fours and 18 sixes. His record against the pacers is even better during this stage where he scored 168 runs at an average of 42 and a strike-rate of 193.1. In this phase, Cutting struck nine fours and 15 maximums and the pacers.

Who was better at No.3?

Since MI wanted a striker before the ball gets old, it was evident that Suryakumar Yadav had to bat at No.4 or a lower position. Krunal Pandya struggled to get going against the spin in the previous game where the ball was turning a lot. MI needed Hardik Pandya at the death given the consistency at which he has been finishing the innings for his team.

Kieron Pollard was the best option to bat one down for the Mumbai Indians considering all factors. His record against the Delhi Capitals’ spinners would also back this move. Pollard has scored 135 runs from 79 balls he faced in the IPL against Amit Mishra. The leg-spinner managed to dismiss the Caribbean batsman only once in the league and conceded as many as 14 sixes; the most by a player vs a particular player in the IPL.

Against Axar Patel too, Pollard scored runs at a good rate. He scored 40 runs from 27 balls with four boundaries and has been dismissed once. The 33-year-old has been in brilliant form recently and his match-winning knock while leading the team in Rohit’s absence was one of those examples. In the end, Kieron didn’t even get to face a ball despite him walking to bat in the final over of the innings.

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