In this day and age with so much data going into the preparation of a T20 game, matchups are the most talked-about tactic in the game. Teams can swing the result in their favour if they were to get their matchups right in a match and that’s why the influence of an analyst has increased tremendously.
In this piece, we’d look at the top five matchups to look out for from the eight matches that will take place this week in the 2021 Indian T20 League.
SHIKHAR DHAWAN vs TRENT BOULT
(Team Delhi vs Team Mumbai)
Shikhar Dhawan is the Orange Cap holder coming into this all-important match against the defending champions Mumbai. This will be a reunion of two teams that clashed horns in the final of the previous season. Trent Boult would be the key for Mumbai in this game as he has the ability to swing the ball up front and get crucial early breakthroughs.
They will be hoping to get the edge of Shikhar’s bat in this encounter and the southpaw batter would be hoping to get on top of the swing bowler from New Zealand early in this game.
CHRIS GAYLE vs RASHID KHAN
(Team Punjab vs Team Hyderabad)
In 2018, the Universe Boss Chris Gayle became the first centurion of the season when he smashed 104* against Hyderabad at Mohali. He took a particular liking towards one of the best bowlers in T20 cricket, Rashid Khan. The leg spinner went for 55 runs in his quota of four overs and was smashed all over the park by Gayle.
Knowing Rashid, he’d remember this encounter and would want one back on Gayle. The West Indian has struggled so far in the season and playing Hyderabad could bring back some happy memories.
AB DE VILLIERS vs SHREYAS GOPAL
(Team Bangalore vs Team Rajasthan)
AB de Villiers has shown why he is leaps and bounds ahead of every cricketer of his generation in the previous match against Kolkata. He is in sublime form and would be licking his lips at the prospects of playing on the belter of a Wankhede track.
Rajasthan have had a disappointing start so far in the league and this could be the match where they’d look to get their season up and running. So far they haven’t used the leg-spin option of Shreyas Gopal in the season given that their matches have been played at Wankhede where spinners have struggled historically. But the spinner from Karnataka has a brilliant record against Bangalore especially against their star batters, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. Given this matchup, we might see the introduction of Gopal for this particular match.
JOS BUTTLER vs VARUN CHAKRAVARTHY
(Team Rajasthan vs Team Kolkata)
Jos Buttler is one of the most devastating T20 batsmen in the world and has the ability to take games away from any opposition. He’ll be up against Varun Chakaravathy who is a mystery spinner and is extremely lethal with the new ball as well. Expect Eoin Morgan to introduce Chakravarthy straight up against Buttler and this would be the matchup to look out for from this game.
DAVID WARNER v KAGISO RABADA
(Team Hyderabad vs Team Delhi)
David Warner and Kagiso Rabada have had a troubled relationship in the past and the South African pacer has had the upper hand over Warner over the years. Hyderabad have had a poor start to the season having lost all three games and they’d be looking at their captain to step up and break this losing streak. Warner is far too good a player to struggle consistently against a particular opponent but Rabada, on the other hand, would be quietly confident of getting the better of Warner yet again.
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