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Stats: Why Mumbai Indians need to look at Ishan Kishan

It's time for Mumbai to whistle up the Jharkhand lad against arch-rivals CSK.

Ishan Kishan of the Mumbai Indians
Ishan Kishan of MI plays a shot. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Mumbai Indians are well known for springing in surprise packages from the domestic circuit, who eventually end up sharing dressing room with Team India. However, that reputation seems to have taken a beating this time around as they have permitted the young wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan to the bench. His recent success in the domestic circuit suggested that the IPL 12 could be a breakthrough tournament in his career.

But the Jharkhand lad has been overlooked for the veteran all-rounder Yuvraj Singh for the No 4 position. The 37-year-old hasn’t made any notable performances in the last 12-15 months. But the veteran didn’t look like he was in MI’s scheme of things. The Mumbai side picked him for the base price of INR 1crore at the auction, which came as a surprise for him after being unsold twice. Ishan, on the other hand, was bought for INR 6.2crore in the previous season.

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Capitalizing the middle-overs:

Ishan is someone who bats with the intent of hitting every delivery. This approach is required in the T-20s especially during the middle-overs. This reduces the pressure of scoring more runs from the final five overs. Teams usually bowl at least 5-6 overs of spin in this period and having players who are good at hitting the spinners will become a differential factor.

With the Pandya brothers and one of Kieron Pollard and Ben Cutting to follow, Mumbai Indians are needed to have a player with the fearless approach at No.4 like Kishan. A batsman maintaining good strike rate on top three can bat for 15 overs. Mumbai Indians had fifty-plus opening partnerships in the previous two games but missed someone with a cameo against the spinners in the middle overs.

Why should Yuvraj make way?

Yuvraj Singh made a decent start to the IPL 2019 individually, nevertheless, his overall scores overshadows his struggles. In the first match against the Delhi Capitals, he scored a 53 off 35. But 32 out of those 53 runs came from the ten balls he faced against the left-arm spinner Axar Patel. In the following match, the southpaw was batting at 5 from 8 balls against RCB on a belter of a surface. He then struck a hat-trick of sixes in Yuzvendra Chahal’s bowling before walking back to the pavilion.

Players-with-highest-batting-strike-rate-during-7-15-overs-in-IPL-2018-Min-100-runs

The game against the Kings XI Punjab showed how decisive the middle overs phase can be. Yuvraj struggled to get going against Murugan Ashwin’s googlies. As a result, he ended up scoring a 22-ball 18 with MI aggregating only 69 runs in the 7-15 overs. During the same period, the Kings XI scored 103 runs in the chase that compensated for a slow start.

It is clear that Yuvraj has been past his prime isn’t in the best of positions to handle the pacers as he used to do before. This could bring down his role mere to smashing the left-arm spinners and the leg-break bowlers which can be done by Mitchell McClenaghan. The Kiwi pacer was promoted up the order for the same purpose in the past. Replacing Yuvraj with Ishan Kishan will help Mumbai Indians solve their batting issues to an extent.

What do the numbers say?

During the middle overs (7-15 overs) in the 2018 IPL, Ishan smashed 211 runs at an impressive strike rate of 177. In his period, the 20-year-old’s strike rate is only bettered by Shane Watson (201.64) which helped CSK to regain the IPL title on their comeback after facing a two-year ban. Interestingly, Ishan had the highest strike rate among the Indians in this period and even more than Rishabh Pant (159.29) who ended up playing classics in the death overs.

Players-with-highest-batting-strike-rate-during-7-15-overs-against-spinners-in-IPL-2018-Min-50-runs

Considering the numbers against the spinners in the middle overs, Ishan Kishan had an impeccable strike rate of 204.35. His strike rate is the best for any player who scored 50+ runs in this period during the 2018 IPL. Ishan scored 141 against spin between the 7th and the 15th overs by smashing 12 sixes; the joint-most alongside Pant. Chris Gayle (202.08) and Ishan were the only players with 160+ strike rate against the spinners during the middle overs in the previous edition.

Can Ishan fit the role?

Ishan has played three seasons in the IPL and had different roles to fulfil so far. He didn’t bat much in the 2016 edition but was promoted to the opening slot by the end of the 2017 season while playing for Gujarat Lions. However, the Mumbai Indians backed Ishan to be a floater for them in 2018 and the youngster had his moments of success despite being inconsistent throughout the season.

Having played in the same role for India ‘A’ for the last 12 months, Ishan could be seen bettering his previous performances. His numbers against the spinners and pacers can hardly be differentiated. He averages slightly higher against speedsters but has a better strike rate against spinners. The upcoming match against CSK at the Wankhede Stadium has to be his first of many in this season.

Ishan-Kishan-in-the-IPL-since-2017

The defending champions’ bowling attack comprises of medium pacers and at least three spinners. Their spin trio could bowl 6-7 overs during the middle overs which could tempt the young lad to go for big hits. In the 2018 season opener, Ishan struck 28 runs in 16 balls against the CSK spinners, which includes a 17-run in Imran Tahir’s over. His presence and success is something that the Mumbai Indians need in the fixture against their arch-rivals CSK.

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