IPL 2020: Rajasthan, Chennai seek inspiration following their demoralising defeats
Both teams have experimented with players and batting and bowling order.
Steve Smith and M S Dhoni may still be wringing their hands in despair over the defeats their respective teams suffered on Saturday.
Rajasthan Royals, for whom Smith made a sterling half century, had the match in their pocket till AB de Villiers unleashed his genius for Royal Challengers Bangalore to gain an improbable victory.
De Villiers, bafflingly held back in the previous match from batting in his customary No. 4 position, had a point to prove. Unfortunately for Rajasthan, they became the victims of his ire.
Not even Jofra Archer, among the best bowlers this season, could stymie ABD's sensational hitting in the closing overs. Apart from winning the game, ABD also ensured that his batting position would not be messed around with in the future!
Chennai's defeat to Delhi was more of their own making, without taking anything away from Shikhar Dhawan, who scored a superb century, and Axar Patel, who slammed three sixes in the final over.
Dhawan was given three 'lives' by the butter-fingered CSK fielders, which is three too many in this format, and he went on to complete a sparkling century, keeping Delhi's hopes alive even as wickets fell around him
Bravo leaving the ground because of a niggle was bad luck for Chennai, true, but Ravindra Jadeja's final over was poor, bowling in the slot for tall and rangy Axar to take heavy toll.
Some days back, after his team had lost a match, Dhoni had been candid about his team's problems. "If we plug one hole, another one opens up somewhere else,'' he had succinctly described it.
That was exactly how it played out against Delhi. The batting had performed extremely well through Watson, du Plessis, and Jadeja blasting a quickfire 33 in the closing overs.
The bowlers too had done reasonably well till everything came tumbling down in the final over. Jadeja, the team's most renowned spinner, became the culprit.
He's had a poor season with the ball so far, and it will haunt Dhoni whether he should not have gone with Karn Sharma who had an over remaining. He plumped for the international player, and it boomeranged.
Both teams have experimented with players and batting and bowling order. After the demoralising defeats in their previous match, such measures are of minor consequence in this win-or-bust contest.
What both teams need is inspiration. That has to come from the top.
(Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator)
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