DUAL INTERVIEW – 12 – IPL 2021 (First Week Review)
J – Thank you for your participation in this Dual Interview (Review) of the first week of IPL, what do you guys make of the tournament so far?
Rahul: The tournament has been good so far and most matches are close one. Credit for BCCI and organizers to able to do it well in this pandemic time. One thing stands out is the performance of unknown or lower-profile players(Sakariya, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan and Shahbaz Ahmed)
Khushi: Thank You. It’s been a fantastic start to the season amid the Covid Pandemic. Just like last year, the doors were closed for the fans, even though there hasn’t been much difference in the enthusiasm of the fans. The first week has seen both high scoring and low scoring thrillers with most of the matches having an end in the last over. The most important thing about this season has been the rise of young Indian talents stepping up at the crucial time for their respective teams.
J – They won their first game thanks to the ABD masterclass which saw them beat MI in the opener, and then they came back against SRH after scoring a mere 149 by defending that total, how would you rate RCB’s performance who have been unbeaten as of now?
Rahul: So far, RCB’s strategies & tactics are really good so credit goes to their team management and not playing at Chinnaswamy has been a blessing in disguise for them. In the upcoming matches, probably need to play Daniel Sams in place of Christian & when they play at high scoring grounds they need the services of Navdeep Saini.
Khushi: RCB is one of those teams that have a strong fan base. They did a decent job in the auctions by picking few overseas stars. Their performance this season has been magnificent. Usually every year they used to struggle to get a perfect XI for the starting games. But this time they had sorted out few players for specific roles in the team. Players like Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Shahbaz have been superb in both matches. The most important aspect from both matches was the rise of Glenn Maxwell performing consistently in both the matches in the middle order. The only concern they currently might be facing is the form of Yuzi Chahal. He is a prominent part of RCB bowling for years. RCB fans will look to see a match-winning performance from him in the upcoming matches.
J – And MI after getting beaten by RCB in the opener managed to make a stunning come back against KKR in their second game, thoughts on the way MI played so far in the tournament?
Rahul: MI losing the first game has been a tradition now. They won second but can be said that KKR gifted them the win. The form of Kishan & Hardik is a concern. Bumrah as usual has been excellent for them. But they need to improve their batting which has to play 7 matches on slow & sluggish surfaces of Chennai & Delhi.
Khushi: MI has been the most successful T20 team over the years. They have always been backing their players consistently. As usual, MI had got their tag of ‘slow starters’ in their head. Their opening match against RCB was evident.
They made a stunning comeback against KKR courtesy of some fantastic bowling by Rahul Chahar and Jasprit Bumrah. MI gave chance to Marco Jensen in both games but couldn’t find any promising performance from him. MI would want their skipper to step up for match-winning performances.
J – Chennai Super Kings lost their first game where they posted a good total on the board thanks to their middle and lower-middle order but couldn’t deliver a performance with the ball, in their second game they had a wonderful outing with the ball as they restricted PBKS to just 106 runs, how would you rate their performance so far in the IPL?
Rahul: One team which will miss their home grounds a lot is CSK. They built their whole squad to maximize spin advantage in their favour. They might depend a lot on power play wickets as seen in both the matches and this is where the role of Deepak Chahar increases a lot. If he fails to deliver, CSK might have to catch up a lot. The form of Rituraj is also a concern. They have 4 matches in Delhi which might suit their style of brand but on other grounds, they might miss express fast bowlers in death overs if Chahar fails to deliver.
Khushi: Chennai had a forgettable season last year. They didn’t make any drastic changes to the squad. Had a fantastic start with the bat in the tournament. But their bowling couldn’t be able to provide similar results. Raina’s comeback boosted the fans’ enthusiasm. They made a stunning comeback in the second match courtesy of Deepak Chahar’s match-winning spell.
J – DC were without Anrich Nortje and the way they played in the two matches clearly showed how much they were missing the South African, do you feel they will be powerful in the bowling department once he returns?
Rahul: Yes, Nortje’s return will be a big boost for DC and he will replace Curran. So far, Woakes has bowled beautifully in the powerplay and Rabada has played one game where he can do much better but expecting him to do better in future. One thing which DC can do is to play Umesh or Ishant in place of Woakes which gives them space to play overseas batsmen like Billings or Hetymer.
Khushi: Last time we saw how crucial was the bowling partnership of Rabada-Nortje. They won many matches due to the consistent efforts by this pair. Even though players like Avesh Khan had a good outing but still DC will look to have Anrich in playing XI as soon as possible.
J – SRH have always been a terrific bowling unit but they become a different side once Warner returns to the pavilion and especially during run chases, your thoughts on how they have gone about in this season so far?
Rahul: SRH’s biggest concern as usual is their middle and lower-middle order. Manish’s inability to accelerate has added misery and they lost yesterday as well. In hindsight, they should have won all matches but messed up all of them. Today’s loss is going to be more painful for them. Sooner or later they need to include Williamson in the team which will give some solidity and bring calmness in the middle order. One more thing so far, SRH not only underutilised Samad but also Rashid Khan’s batting. He should be utilised as a floater in the team so that their run rate does not dip.
Khushi: SRH has always been a fantastic bowling side even though they don’t have many big names in their ranks. Players like Rashid Khan, Bhuvi and Sandeep Sharma have been the pillar of the team over the years. They have a top batting heavy side and an inexperienced lower order which has cost them many matches over the years. SRH management will want players like Vijay and Manish Pandey to excel in the roles assigned to them.
J – KKR first managed to defend 187 against SRH, but then they bottled the game against MI, a game where they could have easily won, how would you rate their performance?
Rahul: KKR should have won the second game as well but somehow pressed the panic button and they lost it out of nowhere. The bowling of Russell at the death is the biggest positive for them but they are hoping for him to come good with the bat as well. With Morgan at the helm, expecting them to bounce back and they have resources to do things well. Hoping that they don’t mess up with their resources like they did last year.
Khushi: KKR was among those sides who didn’t tinker much in their squad during the IPL auctions. They backed the core players who have performed for them over the years. They managed to defend 187 score against SRH. The most positive thing for KKR this season would be the consistency of Nitish Rana. Though they made a fantastic effort to restrict MI, but there batting has let down them. Form of Players like Russell and Morgan is still a cause of worry for them.
J – Rajasthan Royals were outstanding during the run-chase against PBKS except for that final ball where Samson couldn’t finish it off, but then they came back with a win against DC thanks to Miller and Morris, your thoughts on their performance?
Rahul: One thing that stands out so far from RR is their clarity of thoughts not only from their captain but from the management as well. Despite losing two big players, they still look strong on paper. The injury of Archer has weakened their bowling but still, they have some options who can provide them with a decent replacement. The way they won against DC will give them a lot of belief and probably the injury of Stokes allows them to play Miller as finisher which will give them experience in the lower middle order and also a very good hitter of pace bowling. If Archer joins them in the future, they look to be a strong contender for the playoffs.
Khushi: Rajasthan made a change in captaincy and trusted Sanju Samson. He has some traces of good captaincy till now. RR got a big blow when Stokes had to leave the squad due to injury. RR would want players like Manan and Shivam to shine with the Bat. Miller and Morris saved the day for them against DC. But that won’t happen every day so the road of RR season looks a bit tricky.
J – And lastly how would you rate the performance of PBKS who posted 220+ in their first game but just 106-8 in their second game against CSK?
Rahul: One problem which comes out and clearly visible is their middle order and lower middle-order batsmen’s inability to score quickly against high pace. Pooran’s weakness is now well known and he will face more like this in future. Shahrukh is new and expecting him to smash fast bowlers looks difficult in the first season. Deepak Hooda has one good inning and whether he would be able to remain consistent is to be seen. It looks like they will depend a lot on KL Rahul. Their fast bowling looks good with Shami and Arshdeep and expecting Meredith to improve as the tournament progresses. They might need to add Allen and Jalaj Saxena when they play at Chennai and Ahmedabad where they are going to play 6 matches.
Khushi: PBKS has some of the Best T20 stars in their lineup but still haven’t able to put up a collective team effort till now. Players like Shahrukh Khan and Arshdeep Singh have provided some spark within the side with their performance. PBKS fans will be waiting for an all-round team effort from them.
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