Both these teams began their IPL 2020 campaigns against each other, and in some ways how they began is how their tournament has gone. The Royal Challengers Bangalore pulled off a win on the back of their bowling, having first put up a competitive score. The Sunrisers Hyderabad looked like they were making smooth progress in their chase, until a middle-order collapse did them in.
At the other end of the league phase now, both teams find themselves with different equations. The Royal Challengers haven’t yet secured qualification but are still second on the points table. One win will take them through. The Sunrisers, on the other hand, need to win both their remaining games. They’ll be a bit more confident of doing that, because a match earlier, they had needed to win three in three – and against the top-three teams. The Delhi Capitals have been knocked off quite spectacularly, and the Sunrisers have to do the same against the Royal Challengers now.
For the Royal Challengers, there might be a hint of worry given that they have lost two on the bounce, to the Chennai Super Kings and then the Mumbai Indians. Their batting didn’t show up in either game, emphasising the importance of AB de Villiers in the line-up. Whenever he has fired, the Royal Challengers have looked powerful. When he hasn’t, the batting has not been able to break free into impregnable totals territory for the most part.
In the news
The Royal Challengers will be waiting on Navdeep Saini’s fitness status. The fast bowler had split the webbing of his right hand in the loss to the Super Kings. Not having Saini available forced quite a few changes for their game against Mumbai. The Royal Challengers had to bring in Dale Steyn to cover for Saini, but that also meant Moeen Ali having to sit out. Shivam Dube was brought back for Ali. Steyn didn’t have a great game against Mumbai, so Isuru Udana might come back instead of Steyn if Saini continues to be unavailable.
The Sunrisers’ swap of Jonny Bairstow for Kane Williamson led to Wriddhiman Saha being pushed into the opener’s slot, but a circuitous route yielded a bountiful result, as Saha tore apart the Capitals, who have among the IPL’s best bowling attacks. Historically, Saha’s best position in the IPL has been to bat in the powerplay, and with Baistow not having fired as expected, Saha’s success at the top has lent much greater stability to the Sunrisers middle order with Williamson in there. The New Zealander was sorely missed when the Sunrisers crashed to a 12-run defeat against the Kings XI Punjab chasing only 127 for victory. Incidentally, the Sunrisers had crashed to a similar defeat in their first match against the Royal Challengers in IPL 2020 too, losing by 10 runs. Williamson had been absent from the XI then too, due to injury.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Josh Philippe, 2 Devdutt Padikkal, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers (wk), 5 Gurkeerat Singh Mann, 6 Shivam Dube/Moeen Ali, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Isuru Udana/Navdeep Saini, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner (capt), 2. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Vijay Shankar, 6 Abdul Samad, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Shahbaz Nadeem, 10 T Natarajan, 11 Sandeep Sharma
It was both teams’ first match of IPL 2020, and the Sunrisers were 121 for 2, needing 43 runs in 4.5 overs with Bairstow on song, when Yuzvendra Chahal wrecked the middle order. Inexperience played a part in the collapse, as Sunrisers subsided to 153 all out, having lost a chase they looked in control of for large parts.
The Sunrisers had gone with Mitchell Marsh as their fourth overseas player then, and he pulled up short without completing an over and hobbled out to bat at No.10. They’ve covered for Marsh with Jason Holder now, and they’ve got Williamson fit again.
Outside of the IPL, de Villiers has had a lot of success against Rashid Khan. But in the IPL, where Rashid has bowled to de Villiers as part of a generally strong bowling attack, it is the legspinner who has come out on top, with de Villiers taking only 17 runs off 16 balls and dismissed twice. Rashid has also had the better of Virat Kohli, with the Royal Challengers captain having taken 18 runs off 18 balls while being out once. Keeping Rashid for the men who will bat at No.3 and No.4 might be a good move for the Sunrisers.
David Warner began IPL 2020 by batting conservatively, looking to play through the innings. While he did get 283 runs in his first eight matches, they came at a strike rate of 121.88, and a Smart Strike Rate of 116.83. In his last four games though, Warner has spoken about going “old school” and reverting to his attacking ways. His strike rate has gone to 167.03 and his Smart Strike Rate has shot up to 203.03, meaning Warner is effectively scoring almost twice as fast as he was. The quick scoring hasn’t come at the expense of runs: Warner has 152 runs in his last four games, and a much higher average (50.67 to 35.50). Continuing to be aggressive at the top seems to be the way to go for Warner.
So how do the Royal Challengers counter Warner? Deploy Washington Sundar. He has a couple of factors going for him: he’s going to turn the ball away from Warner, he’s capable of adjusting line and length later than most bowlers, and he’s already bowled extensively in the powerplay this IPL and been among the most economical bowlers in the competition. Warner hasn’t been dismissed by Sundar, but he has taken only 22 runs off him from 22 balls faced – and it’s 20 off 20 in the powerplay. Keeping Warner quiet in the powerplay will be a significant advantage in itself, and could affect how the rest of the Sunrisers batting goes, much as it did before Warner rediscovered his free-stroking avatar.
Stats that matter
None of these teams have gone through a season with an all-win record against the other when they’ve played at least two games, splitting wins each time. They played each other thrice in 2016, with Sunrisers beating the Royal Challengers in the IPL final.
Of the ten IPL 2020 games played at Sharjah so far, the split between winning batting first and second is five-five. However, the last four matches at Sharjah have been won by the chasing team, with dew playing a more prominent role as the tournament has gone on too.
Kohli has played 14 matches against the Sunrisers. He made more than 40 in six of his first seven games against them, but in the latter seven games, he has gone past 40 just once.
Recent Match Report – Colombo Kings vs Galle Gladiators 4th Match 2020
Colombo Kings 96 for 1 (Russell 65*) beat Galle Gladiators 62 for 2 by 34 runs
How the game played out
With this innings, Andre Russell basically crash-landed at the LPL like an alien from a way bigger-hitting planet than earth, clobbering what seemed like nine dozen sixes (apparently four sixes, according to the scorecard) and half-a-million fours (nine fours) in the space of five overs, to send Colombo Kings sky-rocketing to some ludicrous total that – let’s be honest – Galle Gladiators never really had a hope of chasing down.
This was utterly remorseless from Russell, who was like a 12-foot giant running wild in a playpen full of toddlers. He blasted two sixes and three fours in Mohammad Amir’s first over, at the end of which Kings were 26 for no loss, before hitting a six and three fours off the next over, bowled by Asitha Fernando.
RECORDS: Fastest T20 fifties
It didn’t seem to matter where the bowlers went, or whether they seemed to execute their deliveries or not. Around every corner was Russell, bat raised and a glint in his eye. Of the Gladiators’ four bowlers, only Mohammad Shiraz did not concede a six to Russell.
Laurie Evans was outstanding at the other end too, hitting back-to-back sixes off Amir’s second over (Amir ended up conceding 46 from his two overs), and a four off Shiraz. He was 21 off 10 balls when in the last over, Russell clubbed Shahid Afridi to long-on, before turning down the single so he could keep the strike for the rest of the over.
The rain had reduced Colombo’s innings to just five overs
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 28, 2020
On the surface, this seems disrespectful to Evans, and it kind of was. But then Russell crashed a four through long-on next ball, and a six over backward square leg the ball after. So, you know, you couldn’t really fault that decision either.
That the match had been shortened to five overs a side was down to the three hours of rain that had fallen this evening. The weather conspired to bring Russell out as an opener, and in some ways, this innings was more entertaining than many regular T20 matches.
Star of the day
Obviously Andre Russell.
The big miss
The other four teams, who failed to secure the services of Andre Russell for this tournament.
SA vs Eng, 2nd T20I
Tom Curran‘s bowling figures – 1 for 55 in four overs – in Friday night’s game against South Africa were the sixth-most expensive in England’s T20I history. But at least none of the five men above him in that list had to walk off alongside their grinning brother after he had taken three cheap wickets.
“Tom’s very competitive and is a relaxed guy, so he’ll move on pretty quickly,” Sam said after England’s five-wicket win. “T20 is a very strange game. You can bowl well and still get hit for a lot of runs, and you can bowl badly and get loads of wickets.”
But in truth, Sam bowled well, and Tom bowled poorly. While Sam managed to disguise his variations, change his lengths and nail a hard length, Tom was taken to pieces in his second over by Faf du Plessis and ended up leaking 24 runs as he strayed into the slot.
The upshot is that if England decide to inject Mark Wood‘s pace in Sunday’s game at Paarl, it is likely to be Tom rather than Sam that makes way. If that seems unsurprising, it is evidence of the effect that the IPL has had on Sam’s reputation as a T20 player: Friday night was only his sixth T20I appearance and his first in over a year.
It is quite a reversal. While Sam’s first exposure to professional cricket was in Surrey’s T20 Blast side, he has generally been considered to be the slightly better red-ball cricketer, while Tom was ahead of him in the white-ball pecking order. Now, Tom has not played a first-class game since April 2019, and is arguably a less attractive proposition in limited-overs cricket, too.
That is not to say that he has undergone any major decline. Eoin Morgan, England’s white-ball captain, evidently has faith in him, deciding to give him two powerplay overs and continuing to back him at the death even after du Plessis’ onslaught.
It is worth noting, too, that he spent much of the IPL sitting on the Rajasthan Royals bench, so was not match-fresh in the way most of his team-mates were. He will return to the Big Bash League with Sydney Sixers after this tour, for whom he has played some of his best cricket, and is likely to remain very much in the England reckoning.
In contrast, Sam – in recognition of his lengthy stints in the biosecure bubbles this summer – will return home after the T20I leg of this tour is complete. That speaks volumes of the strides he has made and his importance to the England set-up across formats. He received glowing reviews during his time at the IPL with the Chennai Super Kings – captain MS Dhoni labelled him “a complete cricketer” – and said that he had taken his game to “a different standard” at the tournament.
While his bowling caught the eye in Friday’s series opener, Sam’s three-ball innings with the bat was just as entertaining. After being hit on the grille by a Lungi Ngidi bouncer, the first ball he faced, he lined up Kagiso Rabada to smite his second for six over long-on – evidence, perhaps, of his mischievous streak.
That Sam has caught up with Tom so quickly should not come as a surprise: tennis fans, for example, will note the relative successes of the Williams and Murray siblings (in both families, the younger sibling is the superstar). There is a sociological explanation for ‘the sibling effect’, in which younger siblings enjoy more success than their older siblings, rooted in their early exposure to regular sport, the need to keep up, and psychological rivalry. As Tim Wigmore and Mark Williams write in their book The Best: How Elite Athletes are Made: “If you have a younger sibling, they are probably better at sport than you are.”
That seems to fit in the example of the Currans: Sam’s emergence as a T20 allrounder puts his brother’s England place in jeopardy. When Jofra Archer has been unavailable through injury or rest, Morgan has backed Tom Curran and Chris Jordan as their death-overs specialists, but Archer’s presence in this series means both seamers need to prove their versatility.
With Wood – or Reece Topley, the tall left-armer who last played a T20I in the 2016 T20 World Cup – in contention as England look for extra pace with the new ball, there may well be room for only one Curran in this side. Sam’s advantage with the bat and his new-found ability to bowl in all three phases of an innings means that Tom finds himself looking over his shoulder.
Bangabandhu T20 Cup – Mustafizur Rahman runs through Khulna to make it two in two for Chattogram
Gazi Group Chattogram (Liton 53*, Soumya 26) beat Gemcon Khulna 86 (Kayes 21, Mustafizur 4-5, Nahidul 2-15) by nine wickets
Gazi Group Chattogram bowled out a side for a double-digit total for the second game in a row in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, trouncing Gemcon Khulna by nine wickets and reaching their 87-run target in just 13.4 overs. The win took Chattogram to the top of the points table, equal with Rajshahi who have also won two out of two.
Mustafizur Rahman finished with incredible figures of 4 for 5 from 3.5 overs as Khulna’s lower order collapsed; their last five wickets falling for 13 runs in 29 balls. The left-arm quick snuffed out any chance of a late resistance after deceiving Shamim Hossain with a slower ball, and getting Ariful Haque caught at deep square-leg.
Chattogram’s performance was very similar to how they had brushed aside Beximco Dhaka in their previous game, beating them with 55 balls to spare.
The groundwork was laid by offspinner Nahidul Islam who dismissed Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah in the fifth over; Shakib mistimed one to mid-on while Mahmudullah was given out lbw. For the third game in a row, Khulna’s two most experienced batsmen fell cheaply, while Jahurul Islam and Imrul Kayes also failed to make a decent contribution.
Mustafizur finished off the innings with his four-wicket haul, while Nahidul and left-arm spinner Taijul Islam took two wickets each.
As they had done against Dhaka on Thursday, Chattogram openers Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das blazed to a half-century stand, but this time at a slightly slower pace.
Soumya fell in the 11th over, having made 26 off 29 balls, with four boundaries, and Liton saw the chase through, finishing unbeaten on 53 off 46 balls with nine fours.
Fortune Barishal 136 for 5 (Tamim 77*, Emon 23, Mukidul 2-27) beat Minister Rajshahi 132 for 9 (Mahedi 34, Mahmud 31, Rabbi 4-21) by five wickets
Tamim Iqbal got Fortune Barishal their first win, and handed Minister Rajshahi their first defeat, with an unbeaten 77, his first half-century of the tournament. Barishal’s five-wicket win was a bounce back from their final-over blowout against Gemcon Khulna last week.
Tamim added 61 for the second wicket with Parvez Hossain Emon and another 46 with Towhid Hridoy for the third wicket. He struck ten fours and two sixes in his 61-ball knock as he ensured Barishal won with an over to spare.
Earlier, Rajshahi squandered a steady start by their openers, Anisul Islam Emon and captain Najmul Hossain Shanto, after they slipped from 61 for 2 to 63 for 5 in the space of eight deliveries. Mohammad Ashraful was run out before Emon and Nurul Hasan holed out in the deep square-leg boundary. They were brought back into the game with a 65-run stand between Mahedi Hasan and Fazle Mahmud. Mahedi struck three sixes in his 23-ball 34, and looked in great nick; Mahmud supported him with 31.
Kamrul Islam Rabbi took four wickets while Mehidy Hasan Miraz took 2 for 18.
Recent Match Report – Colombo Kings vs Galle Gladiators 4th Match 2020
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