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.
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, SRH won by 7 runs, CSK won by 20 runs
CSK vs SRH preview
Today’s preview of CSK vs SRH sees our first fixture of IPL 2021 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. SRH will be hoping that the change in venue will result in a shift in fortune as they come away from Chennai with just a solitary victory from their opening 5 matches, while for CSK the opposite is true, with the men in yellow coming off a 4 match winning streak in Mumbai. Such polar opposites form wise makes this a game of top vs bottom.
In our preview of IPL 2021 we had SRH down as one of the teams to watch out for but thus far they’ve been disappointing. They are usually a team that puts up excellent defensive stats with ball in hand but the Sunrisers have been off the boil in that regard and problems with their middle and lower order continue to persist. Ultimately their selection policy has also left a lot of people scratching their head with a continual chopping and changing of the playing XI suggesting that pre-tournament planning was either non-existent or quickly abandoned. There is still plenty of match winning quality in the SRH squad but it is a case of now or never if the Sunrisers want to continue their excellent record of qualifying for the playoffs.
As for CSK, they come into the match off the high of handing out a thrashing to RCB on Sunday with Ravi Jadeja putting in what many would argue is the single greatest all-round performance in the history of the IPL. Pre-tournament, Head Coach Stephen Flemming spoke about how he was looking forward to reinventing this CSK team from a side that has traditionally been good at grinding out results in home conditions to one that can compete in the neutral venues they’ve been forced to play at over the last couple of seasons. The end result is that CSK have now become arguably the most watchable team in IPL 2021!
CSK vs SRH head to head stats
CSK bowling vs SRH batting
As noted above, CSK have transformed themselves from an essentially defensive team into an attacking one for this season but that does leave them a little vulnerable in the bowling stakes at both ends of the innings.
As we can see from graph below, their bowling economy rate in the powerplay of 8.2 is higher than any other team. This stat is even more significant when you consider that CSK have played all 5 games to date at the Wankhede where powerplay scores in general have been lower than for those teams playing in Chennai.
For SRH, given their strength at the top of the order this is an area which they need to exploit if they are to win this match. As we’ve seen for the last few IPL seasons, at least one of Warner, Bairstow and Williamson will need to come off if the Sunrisers are to post a competitive total.
In regards the SRH top 3, David Warner knows this venue well from his time with the Delhi Daredevils but his overall record at the Arun Jaitely is not particularly strong when compared to the high standards he’s set across his IPL career.
Meanwhile the likes of Bairstow (ave 48), Williamson (ave 107) and Pandey (ave 46) have all enjoyed previous visits to Delhi. In regards, Manish Pandey you would imagine that he will be recalled to the squad for this game. It was understandable that SRH wanted to introduce some left-handers into their middle order particularly on the slower decks in Chennai but Virat Singh looked woefully out of his depth at this level and in a tight game against The Capitals his scratchy innings ultimately cost them a win.
Head to head wise and to further highlight the importance of the powerplay mentioned above, CSK’s star performer with the ball has been Deepak Chahar with the swing on offer at the Wankhede making him a dangerous proposition. To date he has taken just 2 wickets from 2 IPL games at the Arun Jaitley Stadium and his head to head stats against the SRH top 3 show that while he’s been economical, he’s lacked penetration.
SRH bowling vs CSK batting
While a lot of attention will go to the finish that CSK achieved with the bat in their last match, it’s worth noting how good their opening pair have been in recent games. Du Plessis and Gaikwand started IPL 2021 slowly but have gradually been building up form and runs to get a strong looking CSK batting unit off to excellent starts. Moeen Ali missed the game against RCB with a slight niggle and given the performance of the team on Sunday he might suddenly find it difficult to win his place back despite his excellent form at number 3!
If Suresh Raina does continue at number 3 then CSK at least have a very experienced player who has enjoyed batting at this venue in the past. As the endless TV highlights continue to show, Raina doesn’t like the short ball but the Arun Jaitely pitch is unlikely to be particularly quick and the SRH bowling attack lacks anyone to really unsettled the left-hander.
In the head to head stakes, there is also a fun bit of by-play in the all-time IPL run scorers charts with Raina currently holding onto 2nd place but being closed down by 3 opening batsmen in Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and his opponent in today’s match David Warner. Who will be number 2 by the end of the end of IPL 2021?
While CSK have been brilliant at the death all season as shown in the graph above by their superior run rate during the last 5 overs, I do wonder what role Dhoni has in this Super Kings batting unit? The captain and great finisher has faced 47% dot balls in IPL 2021 and his promotion up the order is starving opportunities for the likes of Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo both of who are scoring at a strike rate of over 200 at the death. If we look at his head to head stats vs SRH we see that he’s been brilliant against Buvi, one of the best IPL death bowlers of all time, but is he capable of delivering those kind of performances anymore?
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, DC won by 59 runs, DC won by 6 wickets
DC vs RCB preview
As we preview DC vs RCB, it really feels like the games are coming thick and fast in this IPL 2021 tournament. Both teams are coming off the back of gruelling matches on Sunday with DC needing a super over to beat the Sunrisers and RCB’s 100% record evaporating (along with a large amount of sweat) in the heat of a day time game in Mumbai. We hope then that those exertions plus the fact that the teams have had to travel and set up in a new Covid secure bubble won’t impact what should otherwise be a fascinating fixture between 2 of the early favourites for the title.
DC will certainly come into the game full of confidence with 3 wins in a row under their belt including 2 really good scraps against tough opposition at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. The Capitals will also be able to draw upon the fact that they comfortably defeated RCB twice in last year’s IPL and they’ll be keen to extend that run against a team they could well end up facing during the playoffs, if not the final itself.
For RCB, the run of wins had to end sometime and I’m sure that the experienced heads in the squad will take a similarly pragmatic view of Sunday’s defeat against the Super Kings. At the 19 over point of CSK’s innings, RCB would probably feel they were in control of the game but then … It’s the nature of T20 cricket that overs like that will happen every so often and I’m sure RCB will be keen to bounce back vs DC today.
I’m writing this preview before the opening match has taken place at the Narendra Modi Stadium so we’ll have to wait and see what the conditions are like. Suffice to say that both teams have the advantage of a smattering of international stars who featured in T20 series between India and England so the venue which hasn’t been used to host an IPL fixture for some 6 years, won’t be completely alien to them.
DC vs RCB head to head stats
DC bowling vs RCB batting
A quick look then at RCB’s batsmen who have played at the Narendra Modi Stadium before does show that Kohli and de Villiers have enjoyed previous IPL matches at this venue, albeit some time ago. By coincidence both players have scored 62 runs here with Kohli yet to be dismissed and AB having been out just the once.
Previewing this game, you would think that the big head to head would be Rabada vs the likes of Kohli, Maxwell and de Villiers. However, the South African speedster is yet to really find his rhythm in IPL 2021 and you could argue that it was his poor last over in the previous game that required DC to go to the super over in the first place. Rabada does have very good stats against this much vaunted RCB battin unit but we wait to see if he can improve upon them given his current form
Of course, it could just be a case of Rabada pinning for a reunion with his South African colleague Anrich Nortje that is prompting his dip in form. The performances of the likes of Avesh Khan and Amit Mishra have ensured that Nortje hasn’t been missed to date but we saw that England’s out and out pacers were successful on this pitch against India and as such we may yet see a recall for the RSA quick in this match particularly given the 5 wickets he took against RCB in last year’s IPL
One big head to head match up in favour of RCB has always been Ashwin vs Kohli with the world’s number 1 red ball spinner having only managed to dismiss his international captain once over an extended IPL career. Perhaps this is why Ashwin doesn’t get a look into India’s T20 side?
Assuming that the Narendra Modi isn’t a slow turning dust bowl like the pitches of Chennai then DC will have a difficult decision to make as to whether to keep their 3 pronged spin attack and if they do opt for a little more firepower, which spinner might they drop?
RCB bowling vs DC batting
In my mind at least, Mohammed Siraj has been one of if not the best bowler on show in IPL 2021 across all phases of the game. He’s kept it tight up front and taken wickets in the powerplay as well as being effective at the back end of an innings without quite picking up the bonus wickets that Harshal Patel has managed. Coming into this match he also has a very good head to head record against the DC top 3.
Indeed, stopping the DC powerplay train will be crucial for RCB in this match with Dhawan the current orange cap wearer and Prithvi Shaw having a better strike rate than any other top order batsmen in IPL 2021.
As far as DC are concerned, they’ve generally opted to play the extra batsman in their last couple of matches which has required them to use 3 of their overseas slots. Again, unless we get to the Narendra Modi and discover it too is going to be a pitch that is hard to score on then I’d imagine that it will be a choice between Smith and Hetmyer as to who gets picked with Marcus Stoinis reverting to more of a batting allrounder role.
In regards Hetmyer, I’ve always had the impression that he is little more than just a haircut and a flashy pair of trainers and his performances to date for DC have done little to convince me otherwise. Granted, he doesn’t always get a long period at the crease particularly given the form of DC’s top order over the last couple of seasons but 15 matches into his Capitals career and it’s difficult to remember him really influencing a game for them! Of course, in this match (if he plays) he’d come up against his former employers and the only IPL team he has scored a 50 for in two and a half seasons of trying.
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, KKR won by 2 runs, PBKS won by 8 wickets
PBKS vs KKR preview
PBKS vs KKR represents the first preview away from original 2 venues that have been used for the opening few weeks of the IPL 2021 tournament with this fixture set to take place at the newly built Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. It’s been some 6 years since an IPL fixture took place here and of course the stadium itself has undergone something of a transformation to become the largest capacity cricket venue in the world, although that will count for very little in Covid times.
PBKS come into this fixture riding the wave of a resounding victory over champions Mumbai Indians in their last match. Following a couple of heavy defeats earlier in the tournament that really was a much needed 2 points underlined by the fact that the PBKS bench celebrated the victory as if they’d won the tournament outright! I’m still not particularly convinced by the balance of the team they played and i’ll get stuck into the MI performance in that match in their next preview but from a PBKS perspective a win is a win and given the form of their opponents in this match they’ll hope to follow it up with another 2 points here to put themselves right in the mix for a 4th place finish.
We mentioned in our last preview of KKR just how slipshod the side had looked in all departments in their defeat against CSK and the match against RR at the weekend saw no improvement with poor fielding, lackadaisical batting and comedy run outs all thrown in for good measure against an opposition that had just been beaten by 10 wickets! All in all then, things aren’t looking good for the Knight Riders and I very much doubt that the short turn around in games or indeed the fact that they’ve had to travel during that 48 hour period will have done much to help them in their preparation for the game vs PBKS.
PBKS vs KKR head to head stats
PBKS bowling vs KKR batting
PBKS spent a rather large sum of money during the IPL auction on bringing in pace bowlers Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith to add some firepower up front but in the last match opted to open the bowling with Moises Henriques and Deepak Hooda who between them bowled 5 overs in the powerplay.
We saw in the T20i series at the Narendra Modi Stadium that it very much depends on the soil type in the pitch used as to whether the seamers will get any assistance early on so we wait to see whether either of the Aussie quicks might get a recall here. India in particular found success on this wicket by bowling off pace deliveries into the pitch – a tactic that Mohammed Shami performed well in PBKS’s previous game! Below is Shami’s head to head record vs KKR’s top scorer from their previous game Rahul Tripathi.
We’ll once again highlight the shocking form of KKR captain Eoin Morgan who was run out without facing a ball last time out. I guess you might say that things can only get better from there but in this game he comes up against Ravi Bisnoi who dismissed him twice in last year’s IPL.
Speaking of Bisnoi, it was great to see him finally get a game in IPL 2021 and following a very good effort by the young wrist spinner against MI we surely won’t see PBKS make the mistake of leaving him out again any time soon!
KKR bowling vs PBKS batting
We’ll probably continue to say this throughout the entirety of our IPL 2021 previews but when PBKS get off to a good start then they are always in with a chance of winning. KL Rahul, Agarwal and Gayle all played their part in the 9 wicket victory last time out and they’ll be key again to ensuring PBKS get sufficient runs on the board against KKR.
In that respect, the evergreen Harbhajan Singh does have a very good head to head record against the PBKS top order and if it does look like a slower, turning wicket then KKR may well opt to revert to using Singh in the powerplay as they did for their opening 3 fixtures of IPL 2021.
The key in this match for KKR will surely be to get into the PBKS middle order as early as possible. Aside from the a wonderful cameo from Deepak Hooda in their opening game and a backs to wall knock from Shahrukh Khan, none of the PBKS guys outside the top 3 have spent significant time at the crease.
In that respect, Sunil Narine has done a pretty decent job in the middle overs for KKR since coming into the team and his head to head stats against the PBKS middle order are also impressive.
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, SRH won by 15 runs, SRH won by 88 runs, DC won by 17 runs
SRH vs DC preview IPL 2021
Here we preview the game between SRH and DC that is a repeat of last season’s eliminator playoff. DC came out on top in that match but SRH can point to the fact that they had defeated the Capitals twice during the round robin stage.
Coming into this match, SRH finally got their points tally up and running with a fairly comfortable victory of PBKS. Many people’s dark horses for the IPL title this year will want to keep the momentum running from that win and equally hope that they have finally found a formula and balance to the side to win games on a regular basis. Having Kane Williamson fit and available is a clear advantage to any team not just because of his batting but because of his significance to the leadership group at SRH. Add to that the fact that Jonny Bairstow is finally back in his preferred spot at the top of the order and you do get the sense that while it has taken a little longer than they would have hoped SRH do now have the makings of an XI to begin challenging for a playoff spot.
Meanwhile DC can be very pleased with their win over Mumbai Indians in their last game not least of all because of the wretched run of results they had suffered against the champions but also because they managed to adapt to the pitch conditions in Chennai without too many problems. DC know that a win in this fixture would guarantee them a move up the table given that the top 2 play each other earlier in the day and you can bet that this is a position they’ll be looking to maintain come the end of the season.
SRH vs DC head to head stats
SRH bowling vs DC batting
DC can rightly claim to have the most productive opening partnership in the IPL this season so SRH will be keen to get one if not both of Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw out early. While much of the attention has gone on Dhawan due to his consistent run scoring, it’s also worth noting the importance of Shaw to this partnership. The young right hander plays the more aggressive role during the powerplay, allowing Dhawan time to build and accelerate later on. While Shaw might not come off in every match he certainly doesn’t waste many balls finding out, as his powerplay strike rate below shows.
However, coming into this game he is likely to face 2 opening bowlers who have a very good IPL head to head record against him in the form of Buvi Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed both of whom have dismissed him twice before in the IPL.
I’m sure DC would love to get captain Rishabh Pant into some form as well although I guess they can at least be content that they are winning games without one of their most powerful strikers. The left hander can point to a good head to head record against a couple of the SRH bowlers and in particular vs Kumar who he has scored against freely in past encounters.
DC’s spinners did the job against Mumbai Indians in their last fixture at this venue but SRH will be hoping that in Kane Williamson they have a batsman who will offer a little more resistance. None of the spinners on DC’s roster including the likes of Ashwin, Mishra and Axar Patel have ever dismissed Williamson in the IPL.
Recent meetings: IPL 2020, RCB won by 37 runs, CSK won by 8 wickets
CSK vs RCB preview IPL 2021
Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that this preview to CSK vs RCB would be a battle between the top 2? While not completely out of the realms of possibility, a lot of people were writing off CSK’s chances in IPL 2021 before a ball had even been bowled. However, as we pointed out in our analysis of the odds on finishing in the top 4 , CSK are not only a very experienced playing squad but they have a very strong coaching and management group to back them up.
What that think tank behind the scenes has done is reinvented the way that CSK go about playing T20 cricket. They must be watching the likes of Mumbai Indians struggling to come to terms with the conditions at their home venue and chuckling given the way that Stephen Flemming, MS Dhoni and co. have rejigged the Super Kings squad to adapt to the pitches at the Wankhede. They are far from the perfect squad but CSK have found a new style that is getting them the necessary results so far in IPL 2021.
Of course this match will be a real test of how far the side has come against an all conquering RCB team that barely had to break sweat to beat the Royals last time out. I’d expect a much more competitive game here on Sunday but CSK are going to have to continue to perform at their peak if they are to be the first team to take points from an encounter with RCB in IPL 2021.
CSK vs RCB head to head stats
CSK bowling vs RCB batting
The head to head of CSK vs RCB has always been billed as Dhoni vs Kohli or at least from an Indian captaincy point of view the master vs his apprentice and this fixture will be no different. Captain Dhoni has made a career out of subtle bowling changes and finding the right match-ups to thwart specific batsmen so we wait to see what he might have up his sleeve for an RCB batting line-up that is in red hot form!
One head to head that CSK are undoubtedly aware of will be that of Ravi Jadeja vs Glenn Maxwell with the left armer all over the Aussie in previous encounters. The Wankhede hasn’t exactly been a spinners paradise and yet Jadeja and Moeen Ali have managed to pick up 6 wickets between them so far and had a significantly greater impact on games than any other slow bowlers on this surface.
Of course the head to head at the top of the order that everyone will be keen to see is Deepak Chahar vs Kohli and Padikkal with all 3 players having strong starts to IPL 2021. Chahar must wish that he can take these conditions with him for every T20 match he plays in and when the balls swings and pitch offers a bit of movement then he is a threat in the powerplay.
CSK opted to bring in Ngidi for Bravo in their last match and that looked to have been a wise choice when KKR were 5 down in no time. However, CSK looked a little short of options later on in the innings and they come up against an RCB side and a player in AB de Villiers in particular that are accelerating the score in the death overs almost at will. AB has the 2nd highest strike during the last 5 over of IPL 2021 matches to date but it should be noted that he has achieved that from multiple innings (Samson’s runs all came against PBKS) and from a standing start given that he is usually batting at 4 or 5.
RCB bowling vs CSK batting
CSK will be pleased with the opening stand that they got from du Plessis and Gaikwand in their match vs KKR last time out. Gaikwand in particular had looked in very scratchy form prior to that match and they’ll be looking for the pair to kick on and lay another solid platform in this fixture.
RCB have given a good account of themselves with the ball in general during IPL 2021 but it is their death bowling that has excelled so far and in this match they come up against the team who have scored more freely during the last 5 overs than any other team this season. Much of that is of course a result of playing at the Wankhede but this looks set to be a great contest all the same.
Harshal Patel has been the chief architect of those defensive efforts at the death and he sits a top the leading wicket takers table, 3 clear of anyone else in IPL 2021. Given his head to head record against the batsmen that CSK have used so far this season, he might fancy adding a couple more wickets to his already impressive haul.
Leg spinner Chahal has struggled to get amongst the wickets so far in IPL 2021 but perhaps the greatest indication of the overall improvement in RCB as a bowling unit is that he hasn’t needed to! In previous seasons, he’s been the go to man for Kohli to get a break through but the skipper now has plenty of options at his dispossal to the extent that Chahal didn’t even bowl out in the win against the Royals. Still if he is needed then his head to head vs Suresh Raina is impressive.