DUAL INTERVIEW – 13 – IPL 2021 (Second Week Review)
J – Thank you for your participation in this Dual Interview (Review) of the second week of the IPL 2021, let me first ask you how has the tournament been so far and which team has impressed you the most?
Bharath – Thank you, Jay, for inviting me to do this interview. The tournament has been very exciting as usual, with lots of games going down to the wire. A lot more low scoring games this year because of the Chennai pitches but it’s sometimes good to have the bowlers dominate as well. RCB has impressed me the most, everything has gone right for them so far.
Jaanvi – Hello Jay! Thank you for having me here. Firstly, the results of maximum games have been very surprising yet interesting to me because I expected RR and MI to come out all guns blazing in the first few games which did not quite happen. Secondly, RCB has been the side that has impressed me the most. It has been good to see them find new match winners and go beyond the likes of AB, Virat and Chahal. Other than RCB, it has been a brilliant sight to see CSK back to where they belong, especially after an off-season in 2020.
J – Let’s begin with the best team in the IPL season so far in terms of the points table, the Royal Challengers Bangalore. They have been unbeatable so far, what is it that they are doing right, according to you?
Bharath – Firstly coming to RCB, Maxwell has made a huge difference, he’s ensured Virat & AB don’t have to take all the load on themselves. If you look at the first 3 wins, Maxwell had important contributions in each of them.
Apart from that, the young Indian players stepping up has made a huge difference be it Siraj, Harshal, Padikkal or even Shahbaz
Jaanvi – As I stated, new players turning up has been the key. Special mention to Mike Hesson for changing everything on and off the field by bringing in a lot of positivity in the side. Till now, the reason behind 4/4 wins of RCB has to be the freedom which the players are given, to perform according to what they think is right and not what the Captain or the Coach wants. We have seen that with Maxwell and Harshal. Hoping that they continue to back their players throughout even if they fail on a few occasions.
J – DC are looking good at third position in the points table as they had a successful second week beating Punjab and Mumbai, your thoughts on their performance?
Bharath – To be honest, I have not been impressed with DC so far, special individual performances have helped them get the wins so far but they’ve been very poor in terms of team selection, in my opinion, the way they have handled Hetmyer, for instance, has been poor, to say the least.
Jaanvi – Honestly, credits to them for pulling off three wins in four games despite not playing their best XI yet. The biggest positives in their side have been Shikhar Dhawan and Avesh Khan. It is never easy to overtake Kagiso Rabada and to be the best pacer of the side. Apart from this, they should look to fit in Anrich Nortje soon in the XI which would strengthen their attack for 9 games at Ahmedabad and Kolkata.
J – Punjab Kings (5th) played three games this week, two games against DC and SRH which they lost and the last one against MI which they won quite comfortably, how much will that win matter to them?
Bharath – The win against MI will do a lot of good for the Punjab team especially for their confidence. Feel they have got a lot of players in very good form so if they can somehow get their playing 11s right, they can still pose a real threat.
Jaanvi – The win against MI will help the team to regain their confidence. The win must have also given a lesson to the team management about the importance of playing a good XI along with a positive mindset, which is a pre-requisite before entering to play the World’s Best T20 League.
J – SRH played only one game this week against PBKS, and they finally got their first win this season courtesy of their bowlers for restricting them to 120 and then Bairstow, Warner and Kane finishing it off with fine performances with the bat, so the inclusion of Kane Williamson doing the trick for them?
Bharath – He did change the luck for them so yeah but really if you look at it, the bowlers won them that game, 120 was never going to be enough even on that Chennai pitch.
Jaanvi – SRH are slow learners. Learns to play a good team only after suffering a few losses upfront. We saw the same in IPL 2020 as well, when they won their first game of the season after the inclusion of Kane Williamson. Well, I agree that Kane’s inclusion can do wonders for them but the problems of inexperienced middle order will still persist unless Kedar Jadhav plays a good role at number 4.
J – CSK have been playing exceptionally well since their loss in their opening game against DC, they won both their games this week and at the second position in the points table, how impressive have they been so far?
Bharath – CSK have been very impressive so far. They bat deep so players can bat freely, Moeen in particular has flourished because of that and that’s made a huge difference. They also have 6 proper bowlers so the balance of the side is really good. It’s not going to be easy for teams to stop CSK this year.
Jaanvi – CSK have been exceptionally good and it gives me the utmost satisfaction as an MS Dhoni fan. Honestly, I didn’t expect them to win 3 out of 4 in Wankhede because of their average bowling line up. But credits to Deepak Chahar for two of his exceptional spells in IPL. Special mention to Moeen Ali for batting wonderfully at number 3. It’s a great strategic move from CSK management to extract the best out of Moeen by sending him above the likes of Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu.
J – For Mumbai Indians, it has been a tough week as they lost both their games and the reason is their inconsistency with the bat, do you feel the camp will continue to back the out-of-form players and hope for the best or will they make a change in the playing XI?
Bharath – Players like De Kock and Hardik are too good to be missing out for long so I think MI will continue to back them. Change of venue might help them as well. Also, they’ve been playing with 3 overseas players so far so we might see Krunal/Jayant miss out in the coming games.
Jaanvi – MI is a champion side and such phases occur. Players like Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock and Hardik Pandya have been pure match-winners for the team over the years and the team will definitely back them. But, in my humble opinion, they could have preferred continuing with Chris Lynn for a couple of more games in the Chennai leg. On the other hand, one change which they might make is bringing in Marco Jansen or Adam Milne in place of Krunal Pandya, as they have been playing with just three overseas.
J – Rajasthan Royals just won the game against KKR after getting beaten by CSK and RCB this week, how would you rate their performance so far this season?
Bharath – RR has done well in my opinion, especially considering all the injuries they’ve had. Sanju has led the side well, rotated the bowlers nicely. Once Buttler starts performing, they will look even more threatening. One issue I feel is the spin attack, both Gopal and Tewatia haven’t put any pressure so far.
Jaanvi – If I have to rate their performance in the terms of numbers, then it has to be 6/10. They have won just two games out of five. But the KKR game in particular has a lot to learn from. It was good to see Mustafizur Rahman bowling in his way and the KKR game was a perfect one, to say the least. Chris Morris has got back his A-game after bowling pretty bad lengths vs RCB. Sanju Samson was pretty impressive in the second win vs KKR. The strike rate would not tell the story but he played perfectly according to the situation because chasing 130 odd was never a huge task for that batting line up. Yashasvi Jaiswal in his first game of the series showed brilliant intent too which will later help in big chases. Overall, good to see that RR is trying to find their ways to win.
J – KKR were first beaten by RCB on 18th April, then there was a close game against CSK on 21st April which they lost again, and now they lost against RR yesterday, is poor captaincy to be blamed for their terrible week?
Bharath – Game against RCB, Morgan took Varun out of the attack when Maxwell came in & in the end had Harbhajan bowl to AB at the death. Also, they still haven’t found the right position for Russell. So you can say captaincy hasn’t been that great. They quickly need to find the right balance or else KKR might miss the playoffs once again.
Jaanvi – Not just captaincy, but leadership too. Brendon McCullum must be blamed as much as Eoin Morgan. They have lost 4 out of 5 games till now and are still unable to figure out their best XI. It would be harsh to get rid of Pat Cummins after his masterclass with the bat vs CSK, but it’s the need of the hour. Lockie Ferguson is warming the bench for no reason. To be honest, even Eoin Morgan can be rested for a couple of games and DK can be handed back the Captaincy. It will open up an overseas slot where they can fit in Tim Seifert. Bringing in Lockie & Seifert can change the fortunes of KKR for the better. Nevertheless, I don’t see them dropping the Captain by any chance and it will close their doors to playoffs soon.
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