IPL 2021: Low-scoring games have given us a new T20 experience, writes Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja/Lahore
Filed on April 18, 2021
Rahul Chahar of Mumbai Indians celebrates the wicket of Manish Pandey of Sunrisers Hyderabad during the IPL match on Saturday. — ANI

Low spinning tracks at this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) have thrown down a challenge to the players. Or has the T20 format brutality been given a new civilized veneer?

But seriously, making a wholesome pitch can be a monster job in the punishing summer months when water off the square evaporates under a harsh sun and dew falls in the evening under the artificial lights.

In fact, pitches of slightly flakey quality were on the cards as the hot summer sun doesn’t always allow a strong compact bind, making them dry like crisp fragments. But this is what is making this year’s IPL so interesting to watch too.

An undependable pitch gets the not-so-hot teams in the game and established teams in the soup! A game of T20 has many features, angles and characteristics, most of which have been ignored or not engaged because the format has been seen as a target shooting event.

A series of exciting low-scoring games, of which few were defended and few were lost in nervousness, has opened up a whole gamut of new T20 experience.

And how good it has been to see spinners commanding the headlines in a field dominated by the bat.

From the art of captaincy to range of hitting and selection of players, there is a strategic make over taking shape. It needed a new overview, new tactics, and a combination of investigative and imaginative captaincy to get on top of the challenge.

In a changed canvas, the cross bat shots against the spin are being exposed, spinners are readily being used in the last five overs, pace variations and cutters have become the settled fallback options on slow turners and players are being picked keeping the pitches in mind.

On a turning surface, as a strategy, it may be worthwhile for teams to play experienced hands in the middle and at the back end of a game to see off pressure with technique and calmness.

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