MI v SRH / CSK v KXIP- Just Cricket’s Commentary

MI v SRH

Quick Recap 

Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat first in Sharjah. 

Rohit Sharma was expected to get a big score but fell early. Quinton De Kock who was low on runs so far in the tournament found a bit of touch and got going. Mumbai Indians will be happy that he got some runs under his belt as he was the major contributor scoring 67 off 39 balls. All the batsman chipped in with cameos and Krunal Pandya’s 20 from the last 4 balls of the innings took Mumbai to 208. SRH bowled very well in patches, but going in with just 4 genuine bowlers hurt them. It was worse that one of the font line pacers, Kaul got hit for 64 runs today. 

SRH needed Warner, Bairstow and Williamson to fire to have a chance. Bairstow fell after looking good early on. David Warner struggled to get going early on. Although Warner managed to get 60 runs, it came off 44 balls. Since he fell before really shifting gears and there was no major contributions from the other end, Mumbai Indians were able to wrap up and get a 34 runs victory. 

Game Changing Moments

Rashid Khan bowled well in the middle overs and Natarajan along with Sandeep Sharma did a good job in the death not letting Hardik and Pollard get big overs. As they were looking to close the innings well, Krunal Pandya smashed 20 runs off the last 4 balls of the innings and that took them over 200 and gave them the momentum and the physiological edge. 

Areas to Focus

SRH need to focus on their bowling options. Going in with 4 regular bowlers is going to put them in trouble on most days. In this match, the 5th bowler went for 51 runs in 4 overs. It also doesn’t not help when one of the front line bowlers goes for 64 runs. They definitely need to have one more genuine bowling option. 

Underrated Performer of the Day

Although it came in a losing cause, T Natarajan for SRH was brilliant with the ball. In difficult conditions for bowlers against quality batsman who were going after the bowling, he went for just 29 runs in 4 overs which is almost 3 runs lesser than what Mumbai was going at per over. His ability to bowl yorkers is also very impressive which is something a lot of bowlers should try more often in this tournament. 

CSK v KXIP

Quick Recap

KL Rahul won the toss and elected to bat first. 

The opening partnership for Punjab was crucial against CSK. Rahul and Agarwal did well getting a partnership of 61 runs. As Agarwal fell, KL Rahul decided to slow down and play in  deep. He had to go on and play the big innings to take Punjab to a big score. Mandeep Singh and Pooran chipped in with cameos but after getting himself in with 63 off 52 balls, KL Rahul could not give the much needed flourish as Punjab were contained to 178 in 20 overs. 

CSK has been struggling with their opening partnership so far in this tournament which was one of the main areas of concern. This match was a crucial game for both teams as both had only 1 win in 4 games coming into this game. In the critical game, the experienced CSK openers came good. Watson who was under pressure to score runs and keep his spot started off aggressively along with Faf Du Plessis in the powerplay. KL Rahul tried all the bowlers he had at various stages but it was CSK’s day as nothing went to plan for Punjab. Watson and Faf du Plessis were able to find boundaries at will and at no stage were under pressure. The pair added 181 runs which is the highest opening partnership in the history for CSK as they won comfortably by 10 wickets.  

Punjab having lost 4 out of the 5 matches, will find it difficult to come back into the tournament. They were unlucky with the results in a couple of matches but will need most things to work for them going forward to stay in the competition. 

CSK is a champion side who knows how to win and their experienced players come good when required. Unlike most other captains, MS Dhoni keeps faith in players just like he has done with Watson when a lot of people thought he should be dropped and he has repaid the faith in an important game.

Game Changing Moments

Punjab were at 152/2 in 17 overs with Rahul and Pooran at crease as they were looking to shift gears and get around the 200 mark in 20 overs. Thakur bowling the 18th over really changed the game as he gave away just 3 runs and picked up the wickets of KL Rahul and Pooran. This really cost Punjab close to 20 runs. 

Areas to Focus

In hindsight, KL Rahul could have paced himself much better. This was similar to the innings against Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah where he restricted himself from going for the big shots and was hoping to go for it in the end, which did not happen. He is a brilliant player and should be showing more intent early on. 

With Shami and Cottrell not able to pick up early wickets with the new ball, they looked a bit lost in the middle overs not knowing where the wicket is going to come from. Anil Kumble should address the middle and death overs bowling and get the right combination on the park.

Underrated Performer of the Day

Although Shane Watson and Faf Du Plessis were flawless with the bat, Thakur’s bowling really shifted momentum towards CSK. The 18th over which he bowled giving just 3 runs and picking up 2 wickets changed the game. 

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