Another week of enthralling cricket in the Indian T20 League is upon us and it’s time to look out for matchups that could dictate strategies in different games. Matchups are the key to success in T20 cricket. If you let players like Sanju Samson get set in the middle then more often than not they’d take the game away so it’s important to get your matchups right against the opposition star batters and get them back in the dugout as early as possible.
Here we’ll delve into five such matchups in the coming week that should be given the utmost attention in their respective matches.
KAGISO RABADA vs VIRAT KOHLI
(Team Delhi vs Team Bangalore)
So far in the 2021 Indian T20 League, we haven’t witnessed the best of both Kagiso Rabada and Virat Kohli for their respective teams. They are star players and plenty ride on their form if these two teams are to be successful in the competition.
Rabada will take the new ball for Team Delhi and he’ll be up against the Bangalore captain. The South African pacer has come up against Virat on four occasions and has got the better of him twice already. King Kohli looks to play out the danger posed by Rabada and usually takes a circumspect approach against him. With Rabada, not in his best form, Kohli could go on the aggressive and look to improve his numbers against the Delhi pacer.
KRUNAL PANDYA vs JOS BUTTLER
(Team Mumbai vs Team Rajasthan)
There was a trend in the previous years of putting spin against Jos Buttler, as the wicketkeeper-batsman used to struggle. However, now it is safe to say that it is no longer the case and Buttler is at his lethal best against any kind of spin, especially against spinners who tend to dart the bowl at pace. In the past, he has taken the long handle approach against Krunal Pandya many a time and strikes at 165.6 against the left-arm spinner.
Krunal struggles to contain Buttler and hasn’t got his wicket yet on four occasions. Rohit Sharma would look to hold back Krunal against the Rajasthan opening batter but if he gets set and Krunal comes on to bowl expect carnage in Delhi.
KL RAHUL vs WASHINGTON SUNDAR
(Team Punjab vs Team Bangalore)
KL Rahul took the Bangalore bowlers to the cleaners in the previous edition when he smashed a classy 132* against them in Dubai. Virat Kohli would realise the importance of getting his counterpart’s wicket early and one way to go about that would be to introduce Washington Sundar with the new ball.
Sundar is one of those spinners who prefers to bowl with the new ball in T20 cricket and it gets the best out of him. Rahul struggles to get Sundar’s off-spin away as he has scored only 17 runs in 18 deliveries against the Bangalore spinner. On top of that, Sundar has already got the better of Rahul on one occasion and this is a matchup to look out for in this game.
ROHIT SHARMA vs DWAYNE BRAVO
(Team Mumbai vs Team Chennai)
Rohit Sharma is in the race for the Orange Cap award and it will be important for Team Chennai to stop the Hitman if they were to increase their chances of winning against the defending champions.
In Rohit’s response, the answer might just lie with the most experienced T20 bowler in the world, Dwayne John Bravo. The Champion has a brilliant record against the Mumbai captain in the Indian T20 League, having got him out five times. Rohit averages just 16.4 and strikes at just over 110 against Bravo. Clearly, Bravo’s change of pace and deception is something the Hitman finds hard to score against.
SANJU SAMSON vs RASHID KHAN
(Team Rajasthan vs Team Hyderabad)
Sanju Samson with the added responsibility of being the captain of Team Rajasthan has started putting more price on his wicket this season. He played a mature inning against Kolkata to win them the game and should be expected to do the same against Hyderabad as well.
He’ll be up against Rashid Khan, a bowler who he has played reasonably well against. Sanju usually tries to play out Rashid’s overs and his low strike rate of 83.0 shows exactly that. He has a high dot ball percentage against the leg spinner as well but has got out against him only on one occasion so far in 7 innings. Expect Samson to take a similar approach against Rashid but the leggie would be hoping to get the better of him for the second time in the league.
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