IPL 2022 – RR vs LSG

What will the future hold for the T20? Well, it may look like Sunday night’s match between the Rajasthan Royals and the Lucknow Super Giants. The Royals eventually won an exciting competition with three races, but for the neutrals, the result may have been less significant than the tactical match that took place at Wankhede Stadium.

LSG unleashes their all-rounder

International commitments left LSG without Jason Holder in their first two games of the season and without Marcus Stoinis in their first four.

On Sunday, both were finally available and Stoinis came straight into the side, though that meant ruling out Evin Lewis, who has already won LSG a match on his own.

It was clear from LSG’s auction strategy that they wanted to build a site with more all-rounders, which would give them depth and flexibility with both bat and ball. Against the Royals, the Super Giants had five all-rounder in their XI: Holder, Stoinis, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Hooda and K Gowtham.

Despite that, LSG used only five bowlers on the day when Krunal, Stoinis and Hooda were not required. KL Rahul, their captain, explained at his post-match press conference that he felt Krunal’s left-arm spin could have been a risk as the Royals had an explosive left-handed midfielder in Shimron Hetmyer from overtime nine to 20.

The point of having so many all-round options is not necessarily to use them all all the time, but to have favorable options in most situations. Offspinner Gowtham, for example, has entered XI for LSG’s matches against Delhi Capitals and Royals, two teams with a significant left-handed presence in their top orders.

Gowtham played a key role on Sunday, taking two wickets and conceding just 14 of 14 balls to Hetmyer, who scored 45 of the other 22 balls he met.

The Royals push Ashwin up the order
Even before the season began, it was clear that the Royals had a major weakness to cover. They had a strong top five on paper and a strong bowling attack (without end-overs options), but not many documented muscles at No. 6 and 7. In this game, R Ashwin – who has five test hundreds, but who is a touch -player instead of a steak of the ball – was split at No. 7.

He eventually finished as No. 6, where he went in to join Hetmyer in the tenth over of the Royals’ innings. This pushed Riyan Parag, who may be better suited to hit end-overs than to rebuild an innings, down to No. 7.

It was a clear example of the growing realization within the T20 that the batters’ entry point means far more than their place in the battle order.

Ashwin retires

In a game full of tactical intrigue, this was the greatest moment – a moment that fans had been waiting for year after year. Two balls inside the 19th over of the Royals’ innings, Ashwin ran off the field and became the first batter in the IPL to stop. The idea, it turned out, had been discussed in Royal’s think tank, and Ashwin had bought himself out in full.

It was just what one would expect from a man who has added more variations to his bowling repertoire – and has even tried to master a completely different bowling style – to be one step ahead of the batteries in the T20, and a man who has no qualms . about driving non-attackers out when backing up too far. Ashwin has always been at the forefront of innovation in all forms of cricket and he will probably also be proud of his commitment in this moment.

The reason for the decision, of course, was to have a more skilled six-hitter at the fold at this point in the game. ESPNcricinfo’s Forecaster increased the Royals’ expected score by seven runs as Ashwin retired, from 152 to 159. When Hetmyer went crazy and Parag hit a last-over six, they finished with 165.

Boult goes around the wicket

Trent Bolt’s modus operandi with the new ball is simple and time-tested. Tilt the ball away from the right hand stroke from the left arm over, make it swing in again, and measure the bowl and lbw.

On Sunday, however, he started from around the wicket. He has only done it once before in the IPL, in 2018, and it was also against the same dough, Rahul. Maybe he has seen something in Rahul’s technique to think he has a greater chance from that angle? Maybe, but at the post-match presentation, Boult revealed that the idea was suggested to him on the morning of the match by his Royals and New Zealand team-mate James Neesham.

Wherever the idea came from, the execution was ingenious: full, swinging late in, and stumps splashed while Rahul played around the ball.

LSG shows their flexible stroke order
Ashwin’s promotion came out of necessity, thanks to the Royals’ lack of depth. LSG have no such problems, blessed as they are with so many all-rounder.

As with the ball, it gives them flexibility with the bat. At the fall of Rahul’s wicket, they sent in Gowtham – who has a strike rate of almost 168 in the IPL – as a pinch hitter.

It did not work when Boult got him lbw of the first legal ball he met. Who would come in next time? You might have expected it was Stoinis who often beats in the top three in the Big Bash League and for Australia. Or Hooda or Ayush Badoni, both real middle-class animals.

Instead, it was Holder who can hit a long ball, but who also has a technique that has given him three test hundreds. Under the circumstances, it was possibly the latter quality that gave this promotion. It did not quite finish, with Holder scoring 8 of 17, but again the movement showed the flexibility of LSG’s line-up.

Two left-handed at the fold
LSG lost their fifth wicket at the end of 12. over. They now needed 92 of 48 balls. At this point, it was obvious that the players of Krunal lowered the tempo and became more defensively oriented. It was the first time in LSG’s innings that two batteries of the same kind – two left-handed players in this case – were on the pitch at the same time.

Like all teams, LSG values ​​left-right partnerships, but they may have broken the rule here for a reason. At the time, offspinner Ashwin had one over left to bowl – which he immediately delivered – and play spinner Yuzvendra Chahal two overs.

LSG’s attacks include Ravi Bishnoi, an unusual leg spinner who prefers bowling to left-handers. Chahal is a more traditional leg spinner who delivers the ball with a low-ish arm and bowler bone fractures far more frequently than wrong ones.

Chahal’s record against left-handers is excellent – since the 2019 season, his economy rate against them (7.30) is only slightly worse than against right-handers (7.19) – but LSG may have been trying to maximize the marginal gains they could make.

They might also have wanted to delay Stoinis’ entry and supported his six-striking ability at the end of the match.

It turned out that Krunal’s promotion delayed Chahal’s re-entry a bit – his third over was the 16th of LSG’s innings – but he rejected both left-handed this time.

Holding Stoinis back, however, almost allowed LSG to win an unlikely victory. His strokes – and useful contributions from Dushmantha Chameera and Avesh Khan – brought the equation down to 15 from last over. The match was eventually won by Kuldeep Sen – who made his Royals debut – who only cashed in a run from the first four balls of the final, using the wide line outside the stump expert to keep the ball away from Stoinis’ hitting arc.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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