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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: How Delhi Capitals lost the tactical battle against Chennai Super Kings in the second innings?

Delhi Capitals got their bowling plans all wrong against Chennai Super Kings

Delhi Capitals bowling plans didnt fetch the best of results against Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1 [Source: IPL]

Delhi Capitals' bowling plans didn't fetch the best of results against Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1 [Source: IPL]


Anjishnu Roy

Published: 11 Oct 2021 9:24 AM GMT

Delhi Capitals had all of the momentum going into the first qualifier of IPL 2021 against Chennai Super Kings. They were the table-toppers and had already beaten CSK twice this season. They also had several players in red-hot form and looked like an extremely well-oiled unit.

However, the night didn't quite turn out as expected for Rishabh Pant and his men. Put in to bat first, Prithvi Shaw gave DC a commanding start before Shimron Hetmyer and Pant added the final flourish to take the team's total to 172.

Although DC managed to get rid of the dangerous Faf du Plessis pretty early, their bowlers failed to leave a dent in the remaining stages of the game. Ruturaj Gaikwad chalked up his sixth half-century of the season and formed a wonderful stand with Robin Uthappa to take CSK close to victory. In the end, legendary captain MS Dhoni added the final touches.

Over the night, Delhi Capitals made several tactical mistakes with the ball and they had to pay the price for it towards the end. Let's take a look at them:

Not exploiting Ruturaj Gaikwad's weakness

Chennai Super Kings opener Ruturaj Gaikwad has been in fantastic touch. In only the second season of his IPL career, the 24-year-old has amassed over 600 runs, becoming only the third CSK batter to accomplish this feat. Gaikwad also notched up his sixth half-century last night and has led from the front at the top of the order.

That is not to say, that he is without any weakness though. In the previous two matches before arriving into this contest, teams, including Delhi Capitals, had peppered him with short balls, and that had worked wonders.

Despite being in great touch throughout the season, Ruturaj Gaikwad has had his fair share of troubles against the short ball [Source: IPL]

Gaikwad's pull shot isn't the most mature and Delhi speedster Anrich Nortje banged in short against the opener and he ended up playing it straight into the hands of mid-wicket. The pattern repeated itself in the following game against Punjab Kings where Ruturaj struggled against Shami's rising deliveries in the first over. Arshdeep Singh got rid of him pretty soon with another bouncer.

However, Delhi Capitals bowled a lot of fuller deliveries last night and especially against Ruturaj. The pace of Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, and Avesh Khan makes them excellent options to bowl the short deliveries and yet, they didn't test Gaikwad enough with that length.

Although Anrich Nortje got rid of Faf du Plessis in sensational style, he lost the match-up to Ruturaj Gaikwad, especially in the Powerplay. During the UAE leg of IPL 2021, Nortje has been the leading wicket-taker in the Powerplay with five wickets and with an economy rate of 5.10. Meanwhile, Gaikwad has clearly struggled against pace in the Powerplay with a low strike rate of 97.

The 24-year-old was at 16 for 10 inside the first six overs while Nortje had figures of 1/12 in his two overs inside the Powerplay.

Too many full deliveries against CSK

When you have as many talented and lethal fast bowlers as Delhi Capitals have, you have the make the best use of their abilities. Last night against Chennai Super Kings, the DC pacers in Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, and Avesh Khan bowled full-ish deliveries all night. DC's insistence on not bowling the hard length and short balls was surprising considering that they have fetched extremely positive results for them all season.

This was also the case when they took on Mumbai Indians in the playoff match last year. It's almost as if Ricky Ponting and the rest of his staff overthinking when it comes to utilizing the shorter length options.

Where's the pace against MS Dhoni?

Delhi Capitals have some genuinely incredible speedsters in their bowling lineup. Therefore, it isn't surprising that they have bowled the highest percentage of over 140 kmph in IPL 2021. 17.7% of DC's balls before the playoffs had been bowled at over 140 kmph. KKR is second on the list with 14.8%.

MS Dhoni smacked 18 runs off just six deliveries to finish the game for CSK [Source: IPL]

And yet, surprisingly enough, not a single 140 kmph+ delivery was bowled at MS Dhoni last night. Dhoni, who's well past his prime at 40, isn't really the greatest handler of raw pace. Since 2019, he has a strike rate of 149 against 140 kmph+ deliveries as opposed to a strike rate of 188 against balls under 130 kmph and a strike rate of 212 against balls bowled between 130 kmph and 140 kmph.

Rishabh Pant also chose to go with Tom Curran to bowl the final over of the innings despite Rabada still having an over left. Although Rabada has been in woeful form in the death in 2021 and had been smashed in the match yesterday, his pace and power could've proven to be the deal-breaker perhaps. By contrast, 20.64% of Tom Curran's deliveries are back of the hand slower ball while 19.35% are off-cutters.

DC need to plan better in order to get to the final

When asked about the decision to use Tom Curran for the final over, head coach Ricky Ponting refused to take responsibility and called it the 'gut-feeling' of his captain Rishabh Pant. Knowing how Ponting strips everything down to the last details and how much control he exerts over the DC team, that doesn't sound realistic.

Delhi Capitals shouldn't be afraid of sticking to the basics that have worked for them like a treat in IPL 2021. Bowling hard and short-length deliveries, getting the matchups right, taking brave calls were what they were known for during the league stages where they were so dominant and they must stick to it even in the playoffs if they wish to progress further.

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