The T20 Blast 2021 season is now a couple of weeks old and we’ve already seen a lot of great action from the 18 teams involved. The hot dry weather and some excellent batting surfaces have contributed to some really big scoring to date with a par first innings score in the Blast being in excess of 180 to date.
As we’ve now reached a stage where every team has played between 3 and 5 games and with plenty more matches to come this weekend (weather permitting) then it seemed an appropriate time to launch our powerplay and death overs stats for the 2021 T20 Blast.
Both pages give an insight into the teams and players who are most successful in these phases of the game by providing the following stats
Whether it’s the explosive starts we’ve seen by Surrey’s batsmen in the powerplay or the brilliance of Sussex’s bowlers these stats should provide you with a unique insight into T20 domestic cricket in England.
The month of May should have seen the climax of the 2021 IPL season before moving swiftly onto the rescheduled PSL but unfortunately, Covid-19 had other ideas!
However, at T20 head to head we haven’t let the lull in action prevent us from getting on and adding new data and pages to the site for a tournament that we all hope will be able to begin on time and with in-stadium supporters to boot, the T20 Vitality Blast.
The site now contains head to head player statistics for the squads of all 18 sides competing in the Vitality Blast this year. We’ve also upgraded the site itself so that you can access all these statistics with the page itself.
Recent meetings: IPL 2021, MI won by 13 runs, IPL 2020, MI won by 34 runs, SRH won by 10 wickets
SRH vs MI preview
For SRH the 2021 IPL season is fast turning into a nightmare with the team lacking any kind of confidence or cohesion. The replacement of David Warner as captain with Kane Williamson is a curious decision but as we’ve been writing about for the past few weeks, so many of the Sunrisers choices in regards selection and tactics during IPL 2021 have left a lot to be desired.
In their previous outing against Rajasthan Royals, they also received some criticism for bowling Rashid Khan out early in the innings. Personally, I thought they got their tactics spot on with Rashid having such a good record against Buttler as we indicated in our match preview and the fact that the Royals are so dependant on their top order to get them runs. Had they have knocked over the 2 right handers then Mohammed Nabi would have been an excellent match-up against the left handers in the middle order.
What was lacking from Sunrisers though was execution of even basic skills – they dropped both Samson and Buttler – to back up those plans. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter who your captain is if you can’t execute your basic skills and this has been a problem for SRH all season. In a league as close and competitive as the IPL, the successful teams will be the ones who do the simple things on a consistent basis with a little bit of star quality thrown in for good measure.
Speaking of star quality, Mumbai Indians are beginning to show some of theirs with a magnificent chase in their last game at this venue headed by the evergreen Kieron Pollard. The big man put in a fantastic all-round performance to underline his continued importance to the franchise that he has been at since the IPL’s inception. It was also a good win for me personally as well because I put money on MI winning it from about the 12th over of their chase at very generous odds of 6.0 as shown in my tweet above.
SRH vs MI head to head stats
SRH bowling vs MI batting
We’ve already mentioned the Sunrisers decision to bowl Rashid Khan earlier in the innings than you’d normally expect and beyond the advantageous match up they hoped it would present against RR is the desperation that SRH have to get early break throughs. Prior to that game the Sunrisers had taken just 3 wickets in the powerplay all tournament with Rashid adding a 4th when he got rid of Yashasvi Jaiswal early on. Without any kind of penetration up front, SRH are always left chasing games and the table doesn’t lie when it shows they aren’t particularly good at that!
In this game they also come up against a Mumbai Indians side whose default plan is to not lose wickets in the powerplay and build themselves into a strong position in order to let their powerful middle order go big later in the innings. Our graph above shows that MI have lost the fewest wickets in the powerplay during IPL 2021. The question then is how can SRH disrupt this Mumbai Indians top order?
If SRH are guided by head to head stats to choose their match-ups once again then they’ll undoubtedly want to get Sandeep Sharma on against his name sake Rohit.
Of course the problem for Sandeep and most of the SRH bowling attack is that when the ball doesn’t swing, and it hasn’t at the venues they’ve played at, then they become exposed as the medium-fast bowlers that they are. The lack then of genuine pace in this Sunrisers squad becomes apparent and teams are left knowing that if they can navigate Rashid Khan’s 4 overs then there is very little threat elsewhere. SRH may well look at bringing in Jason Holder to add a little variety to their attack for this game. While by no means quick, Holder’s height and the bounce he creates will at least provide a different problem for the MI batsmen.
Several SRH players have had disappointing seasons but the form and fitness of Buvi have been a real issue for the men in orange. Following his exploits for India in the white ball games against England, it looked like Buvi was back to his best but so far he’s managed just 3 wickets from 5 matches and in this game he faces an opening pair who he has struggled to dislodge in past IPL encounters.
MI bowling vs SRH batting
To balance out our criticism of SRH’s powerplay bowling, we should probably point out that Mumbai Indians themselves have also struggled to get early break throughs in IPL 2021. The selection of Dhawal Kulkarniin their previous match against CSK was almost certainly a recognition that they need a little more penetration in the early stages of the innings if they are going to defend their title this year and it’s that 3rd seamer role that is causing the champions the most headaches with none of the options they’ve tried to date really grabbing their opportunity.
With Warner dropped, SRH opted to promote Manish Pandey to open the batting. For his part, Pandey has a pretty good head to head record against all the bowlers that MI have used in IPL 2021.
Again though, we are looking at an SRH side who are likely to be very dependant on their top 3 (whoever they are) to get them a good score in this fixture. In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, SRH were seemingly heading towards a victory when Warner and Bairstow were at the crease but they collapsed from a position of 67 without loss to 137 all out once that partnership was broken.
Following another collapse against the Royals in their last match, SRH now have the 2nd worst strike rate at the death. It’s difficult to see who out of the many options they’ve tried in the middle and lower order will be able to turn that around, especially against a side like Mumbai Indians who have been very strong with the ball during the middle and late stages of an innings.
Recent meetings: IPL 2021, RCB won by 28 runs, IPL 2020, RCB won by 82 runs, RCB won by 8 wickets
KKR vs RCB preview
RCB have suffered a little wobble in form since going 4 matches unbeaten at the start of the tournament but at the half way point of IPL 2021, Virat Kohli’s team can still be pleased with their progress to date. However, the next 7 games will be crucial both in terms of pushing for a top 2 finish and the easier route to the final that provides, as well as to show that the Challengers squad haven’t peaked too early in this competition as we head towards the business end of proceedings.
A brief assessment of KKR’s first half of the IPL would read, bright beginnings but cracks starting to widen as the tournament progresses. Since their convincing victory over SRH in the opening game, KKR have struggled to put in a performance of note with their only other win courtesy of an all too familiar PBKS batting collapse. With the likes of Mumbai Indians now starting to accelerate away and close the gap on the 3 early pace setters, the window of opportunity for any of the sides currently in the bottom 4 to make a late charge for the playoffs is closing fast. KKR will need to win a minimum 5 of the remaining 7 games to have any chance of getting to the knock out phase.
KKR vs RCB head to head stats
KKR bowling vs RCB batting
If you are KKR, you must be thinking about how you can get a left-arm spinner (preferably one who can bat) into your side following what has happened to RCB in the recent games against CSK and PBKS where Ravi Jadeja and Harpreet Brar did some serious damage to their much vaunted middle order. KKR do of course have Shakib Al Hassan on the bench who started off well this season before losing his place to Sunil Narine.
Before getting too excited about the prospect of that match-up, it’s also worth remembering that Shakib was taken for 24 runs off the 2 overs he bowled in the reverse fixture early in the season with AB de Villiers, a man with a very good record overall against left-arm spin, dealing out some punishment.
Perhaps the biggest issue for RCB this year and one we hinted at during our preview of the season, is the lack of a genuine number 3. Kohli’s move to opener hasn’t really born any fruit yet and neither AB or Glenn Maxwell seems to be keen on moving up. The likes of Washington Sundar, Rajat Patidar and Shahbaz Ahmed have all been given a go but to date all 3 have looked out of their depth. We’ve heard for a while the idea that Sundar could be deployed as a pinch hitter but his stats in IPL 2021 so far suggest otherwise and he currently has the highest dot ball % of the tournament.
KKR’s main weapon in the powerplay this season has been the spin of VarunChakravarthy who has 4 wickets in the opening 6 overs so far including that of Virat Kohli the last time these 2 teams met. If you were to pick a weakness for the India legend in the white ball format it would be against wrist spin and so I would expect that KKR will be keen to get Chakravarthy innvolved very early in this match.
One of KKR’s major weaknesses this year has been in finishing innings out with their bowlers collectively going at over 10 and a half an over at the death. We saw in their previous match that even with the likes of AB and Maxwell failing that this RCB batting line-up still packs a punch when Kyle Jamieson and Harshal Patel come out and gave it some long handle treatment. KKR will need to improve in that department to limit RCB in this fixture.
RCB bowling vs KKR batting
It’s been a tale of familiar problems at the top of the order for KKR in IPL 2021 and as we can see from the table above both Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana are eating up far too many dot balls in the powerplay. What’s worse is that at least as far as the last few games are concerned, neither man is then going on to make a significant score, instead heaping pressure on the middle order to up the ante from the start. They come up against the likes of Siraj, Jamieson and Sams in this game all of whom and been performing and all of whom present slightly different problems for the batting team.
RCB’s death bowling started off as a real strong suit but in recent matches has become a concern. Harshal Patel still holds the purple cap in 2021 but has gone for some big and ultimately match altering runs at the end of innings recently and it seemed like a very poor decision from Kohli to not bowl out Mohammed Siraj in the game against PBKS. Despite not having picked up the wickets of Harshal Patel, Siraj has been very impressive in restricting the scoring in the death.
Of course if RCB get it wrong again in this match then KKR certainly have the players to cash in! Dre Russell has already shown some big hitting this season and KKR will certainly need him to do that 3 or 4 more times if they are to have any hope of a play-off finish. The big Jamaican’s head to head record against the struggling Chahal is also very impressive so perhaps KKR will be tempted to bring him in a little earlier than they have in previous games.
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, DC won by super over, PBKS won by 5 wickets
PBKS vs DC preview
PBKS were back to their mercurial selves in the win over RCB last time out. There were plenty of reasons for PBKS to be happy with the result in their previous match, not least of all the form of captain KL Rahul who is crucial to the team’s chances and the performance of Harpreet Baar who beyond his heroics with both bat and ball might be the player to help solve the problem of balance that the PBKS XI has missed all season.
Of course, you’d be a brave man to bet on PBKS repeating their performance against DC in this match. If recent seasons have shown us anything, it’s that Punjab are one of the least consistent sides in the IPL. Brilliant one moment and truly awful the next!
As for DC, they continue to wrack up the wins, with a very routine victory over KKR in their last outing. As we approach the half way point of the tournament it looks very much like the Capitals will be making another appearance in the playoffs and perhaps this time around they’ll be able to improve upon their runners up finish from last year…
PBKS vs DC head to head stats
PBKS bowling vs DC batting
PBKS have struggled to take wickets in the powerplay all season but they put up a very decent display in their last match against RCB with Riley Meredith and Mohammed Shami roughing up the likes of Virat Kohli and Devdutt Paddikal. To be honest, given the amount of money that PBKS spent on out and out fast bowlers it was nice to see them unleash a couple of quicks rather than relying on the very military medium Moise Henriques and part-time spin of Deepak Hooda.
We’ll need to wait for a fitness update on Meredith after he got cracked in the knee late on in the game on Friday and you’d fear that they quick turn around of matches for PBKS might mean he misses out.
PBKS will also be up against a DC top order that has been scoring for fun in the powerplay this year. They have the best average score in the powerplay in IPL 2021, are the only team averaging over 50 in the powerplay during IPL 2021, have the batsmen with the best strike rate in the powerplay (Prithvi Shaw S/R 187) and are one of only 2 teams to have scored 60 or more in a powerplay this season. In other words, PBKS have their work cut out for them if they hope to repeat Friday’s success!
Of course getting rid of Shikhar Dhawan cheaply is a top priority for any side at the moment and PBKS know all to well his threat after the century he scored the last time these 2 teams met. His head to head stats against the leader of the PBKS attack in Mohammed Shami are also very impressive.
The Capitals also have plenty of fire power in their lower order with the likes of Stoinis and Hetmeyer looking to build on the starts being offered by the top order. In that respect, Marcus Stoinis has treated PBKS death bowling specialist Chris Jordan with utter distain in previous IPL encounters as demonstrated by the head to head stats below.
DC bowling vs PBKS batting
It goes without saying that a team’s captain and opening batsmen is going to be crucial to their chances of winning any match but in KL Rahul PBKS are almost entirely dependant on one man coming off in order to win. In fact, PBKS have only won 3 matches since the start of the 2020 IPL season in which KL Rahul didn’t score at least a half century and the below graphic shows “King Legend’s” average when PBKS win vs his average when they lose during the same period.
In terms of match-ups then DC may be tempted to open up with Axar Patel who has dismissed Rahul on a couple of occasions in previous IPL meetings. The prospect of opening with spin is increased if Mayank Agarwal is unfit to play again in this game, with Rahul’s partner in crime generally the aggressor against slow bowling in the powerplay.
As noted above, the magnificent performance of Harpreet Baar in the game against PBKS must give them real hope that they have a player who can help to solve one of the side’s biggest issues which is the all-rounder spot at 7. In previous games, PBKS have played the likes of Richardson and Jordan in that role and while both have the ability to strike a long ball, number 7 looks at least a spot too high for both. Having such a long tail puts more pressure on a top order which as we’ve already discussed is crucial to PBKS’s chances in a match. While it’s a bit early to name Harpreet Baar the all-round messiah that PBKS have been waiting for, he is certainly an exciting prospect.
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, RR won by 5 wickets, SRH won by 8 wickets
RR vs SRH preview
Is it too early to call this a clash to decide the wooden spoon? Probably, but one thing is for sure, the side that loses today’s fixture will have a gargantuan task on their hands to reach the playoffs given the current state of the table and both sides respective form so far in IPL 2021.
It’s not been an easy opening 6 games for the Royals with all the enforced chopping and changing that they’ve had to do following the withdrawal of so many key players and you might argue that given the circumstances their performing as well as can be expected.
As for SRH, they came into the tournament with the most settled squad but to date have struggled to find a winning formula leading to them chopping and changing their playing XI as demonstrated by the table below this shows total players used by each franchise in IPL 2021.
Players used during IPL 2021
Total players used by each team so far in IPL 2021
RR vs SRH head to head stats
RR bowling vs SRH batting
The Royals strong suit this year has been their powerplay bowling which is something of a surprise given that many people would have expected them to struggle in that department without the services of Jofra Archer.
In this game, they’ll come up against a team in SRH that has traditionally been strong at the top of the order and indeed is very reliant on their top 3 or 4 making runs in order for them to win games. That battle during the first 6 overs could go a long way to deciding the eventual outcome of this match.
For SRH, it’s been a very frustrating season and one in my mind that could have been different but for some better decision making. Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing but had they opted to send in Bairstow for the superover against DC or had they chosen to put Williamson in at number 3 against CSK then things might have been different for them.
In regards decision making for the Orange Army, the real question then is who is making them? I look at their bench and see the likes of Tom Moody who has been involved with the franchise since the beginning, alongside Trevor Baylis who is now at least in theory the head coach plus a whole array of other coaches and management. When you’ve made so many poor choices and you continue to bring players in and out of the side then it does suggest a lack of cohesive thought at the very top!
While RR’s trio of left-armers plus Chris Morris have all had good seasons, their major weakness with the ball has been the 5th bowler. To date Rahul Tewatia has picked up just 1 wicket from 16 overs in IPL 2021 and the remaining bowlers used including the likes of Parag, Dube and Gopal have collectively taken only a single wicket from the 14 overs they’ve offered with all 3 bowlers mentioned going at more than 10 an over. For a relatively inexperienced captain in Sanju Samson this is a major headache!
Warner has had his struggles at the top of the order this season and his frustration was very evident in the last game against CSK. He’ll be up against a predominately left-arm attack today which is not an angle that he has had major success against in the past. By comparison he averages over 40 against right arm seam and strikes at 140+ in his IPL career to date.
SRH bowling vs RR batting
If the Royals are to make any kind of late charge for the playoffs then surely Jos Buttler is going to have to rediscover his very best form. There were signs of it in the innings he played against what is a very good MI bowling attack and RR will be desperate for him to carry on in this game. However, he’ll be facing one of his (and many batsmen’s) nemesis in this match in the form of Rashid Khan.
Another traditional strength of SRH has always been their defensive bowling and at least in that respect they’ve again been one of the top performers in this season’s IPL. Their bowling economy rate at the death is probably somewhat deflated by the fact that they have played 5 of their games in Chennai where everybody found it difficult to score at the death but they’ve still put in several good performances to help limit sides in the last 6 overs.
For their part, the Royals have looked dangerous at the close of an innings when they’ve managed to set a decent foundation early on which sadly for them hasn’t happened frequently enough in IPL 2021. We all know what destruction Sanju Samson can bring if he makes it through to that stage of the innings and the Royals would dearly love for their captain to have one his good days in this fixture!
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, CSK won by 5 wickets, MI won by 10 wickets
MI vs CSK preview
In any season of the IPL, a match between MI and CSK is special and this year will be no different. For their part, CSK are blazing away at the top of the table with 5 wins on the bounce and unsurprisingly given such a rich vein of form their squad seems to be running around with a real spring in their step at the moment. Looking to stop that momentum is the old enemy in Mumbai Indians who have failed to really get going in this tournament, particularly with bat in hand, but with 3 wins in their back pocket are nicely poised to start picking up the pace in the second half of the round robin.
Of course both sides know how to win the IPL and therefore both will be keenly aware that it’s the teams that peak at the right time that usually take the trophy home at the end of the 2 months. At the same time, doing a bit of early psychological damage to an opponent that you’re likely to face during the knock phase is never a bad thing so today’s game offers a chance for one side to get one up.
In that regard, CSK may still be licking their wounds from the last time these 2 teams met which resulted in a 10 wicket victory for MI. Things could of have even worse for the Super Kings but for a spirited half century from Sam Curran that took them from the brink of a record low total to at least some form of respectability. However, CSK seem to have put those dark days behind them and I think we could be in for a very competitive match here.
MI vs CSK head to head stats
MI bowling vs CSK batting
Mumbai Indians opted for extra bowling resources in their previous game against the Royals by bringing in Nathan Coulter-Nile for to out of sorts Ishan Kishan. That move paid off against a fairly weak RR side but it will be interesting to see if MI risk such a long tail against this CSK team.
For his part, Coulter-Nile looks like a good pick on this surface and you’d imagine that regardless of whether MI opt to continue to pick 3 front line spinners as they have done for their last few games, they’ll likely want to have a back-up seamer to Boult and Bumrah, the position of which has always been the one area of the MI starting XI that has been most fluid.
Of course, extra bowling resources may still be required given the form of the CSK batting line-up. Du Plessis and Gaikwand have been getting better and better with each match while we’ve already seen that the scoring doesn’t tend to slow down when Moeen Ali and Suresh Raini walk to the crease and CSK are then safe in the knowledge that not only do they have a long tail but they have some powerful hitters some of whom are in red hot form!
In this match however, the likes of Ravi Jadeja, Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo, all of who are striking in excess of 200 at the death will come up against the most frugal bowling attacking in the last 5 overs. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We might be about to find out!
In regards player match ups, the battle between du Plessis and Boult at the top of the order could be key. The South African is playing perhaps as well as he ever has in the IPL but he hasn’t always found it easy going against the left-armer from New Zealand as their head to head stats show.
CSK bowling vs MI batting
MI as a squad looked pretty happy to be away from the ultra slow surfaces of Chennai in their last outing and Quinton de Kock in particular must have been relieved given his wretched record at the MA Chidambaram stadium. His return to form was a major boast for Mumbai as they look to start putting up the kind of scores that they know their excellent and varied bowling attack can defend on a regular basis. As far as this match goes, the South African will be up against Deepak Chahar who is CSK’s primary powerplay weapon.
At times, bowling has been CSK’s weaker suit and they seem to like to pick between Lungi Ngidi and Dwyane Bravo in the side. Ngidi of course would give CSK greater options upfront and during the middle overs while Bravo tends to be used exclusively at the death these days. Match-up wise, if they did opt for Bravo then perhaps getting him on early against Rohit Sharma wouldn’t be such a bad option given their head to head stats.
If Mumbai do opt to strengthen their batting line-up for this match and recall Ishan Kishan then he can rest easy in the knowledge that his nemesis at CSK, Imran Tahir, is also struggling to get a game these days. Kishan has been dismissed by Tahir on 5 previous occasions in the IPL for an average of just 9 runs. His record therefore against the remainder of the CSK bowling attack is pretty good!
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, PBKS won by 97 runs, PBKS won by 8 wickets
PBKS vs RCB preview
This fixture sees 2 sides who spent heavily in the auction in order to try and secure a maiden IPL title but who to date have experienced different fortunes since their respective rebuilds.
For PBKS, nothing much seems to have changed despite the large amount of money they spent at the start of the year. They are still inconsistent, they lack penetration in the powerplay and they are over reliant on their top order to score the runs for them. Their season to date has seen them smash 226 runs in the opening game against the Royals as well as steamrolling defending champions Mumbai Indians by 9 wickets while on the other hand they’ve been soundly beaten themselves by the likes of KKR and SRH both of whom have struggled in 2021. It was a similar story of Jekyll and Hyde like performances from the Kings last season with RCB unfortunate to come up against them on 2 of their better days. Whether those results 6 months ago will count for anything in this match remains to be seen.
By contrast, RCB’s close of season signings have all made a contribution of some kind but it is the trio of Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson and Harshal Patel that have really shone for the Challengers this year and their inclusion in the side also seems to be helping to get the best out of players like AB de Villiers and Mohammed Siraj. A massive fillet for RCB will be that they managed to close out another tight win over a likely playoff rival in their last match in Delhi Capitals having edged past Mumbai Indians in their opening game. For a side with a famously empty trophy cabinet those psychological wins may prove priceless come the final reckoning.
PBKS vs RCB head to head stats
PBKS bowling vs RCB batting
We wrote a detailed assessment of Virat Kohli’s decision to move to open the batting before the start of the season and it’d be fair to say that it hasn’t quite happened for the RCB and India captain yet in IPL 2021. Those who have watched Kohli over the last 18 months know that by his very high standards he’s not been in the best of form. So far, that dip has carried on into the IPL but with a player of the class of Kohli you know a big score will never be too far around the corner! Here he faces a bowler in Mohammed Shami who has an excellent head to head against him
Of course it’s Moises Henriques as opposed to Mohammed Shami that PBKS have used as an opening bowler for the last couple of games and while he has been successful in that role you’d have to say that it was as much a result of some very sleepy batting from both Mumbai Indians and KKR as opposed to brilliant bowling and you fancy that Kohli and Paddikal won’t be as forgiving as those that have come before!
Indeed, RCB have one of the best run rates in the powerplay of IPL 2021 (it was the best until DC took apart KKR in their last match) and with a strong middle order to come, you feel that PBKS will need to be at their best with the ball if they are to limit RCB today.
Speaking of that middle order, AB de Villiers has been arguably the best batsman of IPL 2021 to date. While focus will often go on the guys playing in the top 3 because they are most likely to hit the big scores, AB has shown both skill and versatility to score important runs in various match situations and pitch conditions. To sum things up quite simply, de Villiers never misses an opportunity to score. Not only does he have the highest strike rate in the death overs (2nd highest overall) but he also has one of the lowest dot ball percentages not just of IPL 2021 but of all time! Whether the situation requires AB to smash it into the stands or manipulate the strike he is able to deliver, making him a true great of the T20 era and a player that PBKS will need to see the back of early in this match if they are stand any chance.
RCB bowling vs PBKS batting
As noted above, RCB’s bowlers were given some rough treatment by the Kings’ batsmen in last season’s IPL. Of course, the RCB attack in general is looking significantly better than perhaps it has ever been in an IPL season so there is no reason to expect that we’ll see a similar result today but it has left some of the head to head stats for players like Mohammed Siraj looking a little worse for wear. Below is Siraj’s stats vs the PBKS top 3.
Last season, PBKS scored more runs than anyone in the IPL with the exception of eventual champions Mumbai Indians. This year they have accumulated the fewest runs out of all 8 franchises and unfortunately as discussed above they don’t have the defensive game to win many low scoring matches.
Despite the strength of their top order, PBKS have struggled to make fast starts during IPL 2021 as evidenced by the graph below that shows they have the lowest run-rate in the powerplay of all the teams. The poor starts are probably a combination of the conditions they’ve played in, the players in that top 3 and a general concern that if they lose early wickets they don’t have the depth and ability in their batting to recover.
In general, PBKS have made the fatal mistake that so many teams in so many sports often do which is that in looking to overcome their greatest weaknesses (defensive bowling/wicket taking) they have impacted the effectiveness of their traditional strength (attacking run scoring). We’ll see if they come out with a different plan of attack for this game but I fear that if they don’t perform to their peak then this could be another defeat on the way to another unsuccessful season.
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, DC won by 18 runs, KKR won by 59 runs
DC vs KKR preview
The games continue to come thick and fast for the Delhi Capitals at the moment who gave a bit of a stop start display against RCB in their last match. There were plenty of positives to take from the continued good form of Avesh Khan and the near match winning knock of Shimron Hetmyer but unfortunately DC’s captain, Rishabh Pant, couldn’t quite get going and see his team across the line.
Probably the most noticable aspect of the chase in the fixture at this venue on Tuesday was that there was no dew on the outfield during the 2nd innings which was in stark contrast to KKR’s win over PBKS when the grass was absolutely sodden. “The dew factor” will be a phrase that you’ll hear mentioned on commentary about a hundred times today as you sit back and enjoy watching the game and we wait to see how big an impact it will have on the outcome of this match.
KKR will be hoping that they can get on a bit of a roll following their win against the Punjab Kings which ended a sequence of 4 straight defeats. Going back to the early knockings of IPL 2021, the Knight Riders were looking really good before a dramatic loss of form. Beyond the 2 points they acquired on Monday, the big plus will be the return to some kind of form of skipper Eoin Morgan who finally put some runs on the board and removed a bit of the pressure that was growing on his position in the side. As if to prove just how close and competitive the IPL is, another win here would catapult his team into the playoff places!
DC vs KKR head to head stats
DC bowling vs KKR batting
DC have been excellent with the ball during the powerplay this season, taking wickets and being economical. It was started off by the likes of Chris Woakes who swung and seamed the ball at the Wankhede and has been taken on by Avesh Khan who is emerging as one of the bowlers of the tournament. Indeed, alongside Jasprit Bumrah, Avesh Khan is the only bowler to feature in the top 5 economy rates in the powerplay and the top 5 economy rates at the death!
DC’s powerplay bowlers will come up against a KKR top order that has been brilliant at times and pretty poor at others. Nitish Rana started the season with a bang but seems to have gone off the boil in recent matches while questions still remain about Shubman Gill’s suitability for the shortest form of cricket. He is truly classy batsman and a man who will have a very long career in other formats but sides seemed to have worked out how to keep him quiet in T20 cricket and to date he hasn’t come up with a answer, a fact that is underlined by his dot ball % in IPL 2021 which is the highest of any batsmen in the tournament!
Of course what KKR do have is the power in the lower middle order to make up the difference and in that respect Delhi Capitals have been struggling a little to contain sides late in the innings.
The key bowler for DC at the death for the last couple of seasons has been Kagiso Rabada who has picked up a huge number of wickets in the final 5 overs. However, the South African is struggling to find any real form at the moment and his usual pinpoint accuracy has deserted him. Against KKR, he comes up against a couple of men who have hit him about a bit in the past including in last season’s fixtures which both resulted in KKR’s batsmen scoring freely against DC.
We predicted that DC would drop a spinner from their side for their last match and suggested that it could well be Ravi Ashwin who got the chop. DC might be tempted to bring him back for this game given that KKR are more reliant on left-handers than RCB are. However, Ashwin again does not have a good head to head record against the lefties in the KKR side, in particular Nitish Rana and as such his spell on the side lines may continue.
KKR bowling vs DC batting
News flash! Shikhar Dhawan failed in an IPL match! Given the left-handers consistency over the last season and half it really is an odd sight to see him depart for a single figure score and DC will be hoping that he and Prithvi Shaw who have been the most productive opening partnership in the powerplay in 2021 will provide a solid foundation for them today.
They’ll be up against a KKR bowling attack that has been reshaped from their opening 3 games were they relied almost exclusively on spin in the first 6 overs to one which will see their quicks get most of the action. In that regard, young Shivam Mavi has looked in very good form since returning to the side and has done his best work in the powerplay where to date he is the most economical bowler. Will that continue against Prithvi Shaw who is striking at 166 during the powerplay in IPL 2021?
However, KKR’s achilles heal this year has been their death bowling as demonstrated by the graph below which shows they are the least economical side in the last 5 overs of IPL 2021. This is a particularly damning stat given that KKR have played half their matches this year on surfaces in Chennai where most sides have struggled to score in the 2nd half of an innings.
Head to head wise there are a couple of interesting match-up including in the battle of the big burly all-rounders. Andre Russell has bowled 5 balls at Marcus Stoinis in the IPL and dismissed him twice while Stoinis is yet to score a run. However, the match-up that i’ll be eagerly anticipating will be between fellow countrymen Pat Cummins and Steve Smith with the fast bowler having the wood over his former captain and number 1 ranked Test batsmen in the world to date.
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, MI won by 57 runs, RR won by 8 wickets
MI vs RR preview
It’s been a while since we’ve written a preview for MI or RR with both franchises enjoying a relatively long break since their last matches.
For MI, the rest and change of venue couldn’t have come soon enough with the reigning champions looking jaded and perplexed in their last outing against the Punjab Kings. In previous years, MI have had a very good record playing in Chennai including in 2019 (the last time the tournament was hosted in India) so it’s strange to see them struggle so much in IPL 2021. That they let Moises Henriques and Deepak Hooda bowl 5 overs in the powerplay in that match without really attacking them beggers belief and was perhaps a reaction to the way they over attacked vs Delhi in the game before. Whatever the reason, now is the time for the real Mumbai Indians to stand up and begin to win matches.
MI’s opponents in this fixture have been probably the hardest team to predict form wise all season. RR seem to be brilliant in one match and terrible in the next! To be fair to them they are having to overcome the loss of players on an almost daily basis at the moment with the likes of Stokes and Archer ruled out through injury and Tye and Livingstone opting to travel home. Still, it’s meant an opportunity for a few guys who probably thought that they’d be carrying drinks for the majority of the season and with 2 wins to date Rajasthan are within the chasing pack for 4th place as we enter the middle phase of the round robin stage a fact that they can be happy about given the circumstances.
MI vs RR head to head stats
MI bowling vs RR batting
To date it has been the Mumbai bowlers that have kept them in the tournament with their accurate bowling at both ends of the innings. Trent Boult knows this venue well from his time here with Delhi Capitals and he wracked up some impressive stats at the Arun Jaitley Stadium during that stint
With the wickets at the Arun Jaitley often being on the slower side, Mumbai’s spinners should also enjoy playing here and while we don’t have much of a sample size, Rahul Chahar took 3 wickets on his one and only visit to Delhi in the IPL.
As for Rajasthan Royals, they too have a former Delhi employee on their books with Sanju Samson having spent a largely unsuccessful period at the franchise 5 years ago. RR will certainly need him to improve on these stats at the Arun Jaitley stadium over the coming games.
Head to head wise, both RR’s star batsmen have favourable records against the MI spinners in particular vs Krunal Pandya who has failed to get either Samson or Buttler out in previous encounters and perhaps even more surprisingly has gone for a few runs as well.
However, the question remains as to whether either batsmen will still be at the crease by the time the likes of Pandya and Chahar come onto bowl! Buttler has looked short of form and confidence so far this IPL and while Samson has been his mercurial self, his head to head stats against MI’s pace attack is poor.
RR bowling vs MI batting
This match sees the side with the best bowling economy in the powerplay up against a team that has struggled to get off to a fast start in IPL 2021. Part of RR’s success in the opening 6 overs has been driven by the conditions at the Wankhede where they played their opening 5 games of IPL 2021 but they are still head and shoulders ahead of anyone other side at restricting the opposition in that phase of the game.
As for MI, the likes of Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma have lacked any kind of fluency at the top of the order while the only man looking in decent form, Suryakumar Yadav, was inexplicably bumped down the the order in their match against PBKS, surely not a mistake that will be repeated again here! Although of some concern for MI is the fact that Sky only averages 18 at this venue on previous visits.
Perhaps even more concerning for MI is the form of their much vaunted middle order who last season made mince meat of pretty much every bowling attack. This season however, Hardik Pandya has contributed just 36 runs at a strike rate of under 100, while last seasons leading six hitter, Ishan Kishan, has to date delivered just 2 maximums from 88 balls faced. Yes, conditions have been difficult but other teams and players have found a way to get more runs on the board than MI have so far.
The Rajasthan bowling attack also have the advantage of having a couple of players who know the conditions at the Arun Jaitley very well as a result of time spent playing here. Both Chris Morris and Jaydev Unadkat had relatively successful periods at the franchise and have taken 14 and 11 wickets respectively at this venue.