By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar
Chennai Super Kings 222/5; Delhi Daredevils 136/10
(Chennai Super Kings won by 86 runs)
The scorecard of the match is here.
Perhaps there is a quota on overseas brothers playing an IPL match – there is simply no other explanation for why Morne Morkel should have been left out of the 2nd qualifying match in the playoffs. The reason given – that Irfan Pathan’s injury absence necessitated a strengthening of the batting, thus a preference for Andre Russell over Morkel – was absurd. Morkel was one of the main reasons why Delhi competed in the IPL so far – their considerably weak bowling camouflaged by his outstanding performance this season - he was the Purple Cap holder after all (though the 4th highest-impact bowler in the tournament). If the intent was to win, DD’s decision-making was inexplicable.
Before the tournament began, Impact Index had DD’s batting as the strongest and its bowling the weakest amongst all the IPL 2012 teams. The second was proved to be wrong as Morkel produced almost double the impact he had registered in previous IPL editions – and the support bowling complemented him adequately. Here, forced to suddenly play leading roles, those bowlers were completely exposed, and the match was pretty much over at half-time.
It was uncharacteristically defensive for Sehwag to choose to field too after winning the toss. Warner and Sehwag were the team’s trump cards and its strength; to not put their best foot forward by attacking CSK from the beginning (or to perish trying) suggested an anxiety that was always unlikely to bear good results. Moreover, on a pitch which famously slows down, the last two years show a 29% win record for teams chasing. When Dhoni said he too would have chased, he was perhaps either being facetious or he was reacting to Morkel’s absence from DD’s bowling line-up (as it made things much easier for his batting line-up).
Sehwag showed why he will never be a serious candidate for Indian captaincy after this. DD had lost the match on the IMPACT sheets before a ball was bowled – in what was certainly the most disappointing match of IPL 2012, given the expectations around it.
Here is the match through the Impact Index prism.
It is awe-inspiring to see how CSK’s players spread the impact in this match.
Murali Vijay won this single-handedly (113 off 58 balls; Batting IMPACT 8.79) – he was the only batsman in the match from both sides who crossed an IMPACT of 4 – not a common occurrence at all.
Thereafter, R Ashwin (3-23 in 3.5 overs) was the only bowler to cross an IMPACT of 4 in the match, though the tough part had already been accomplished before he even came on to bowl.
For the second successive time, Dwayne Bravo was the only CSK player to have an all-round impact in the match (33 off 12 balls, IMPACT 2.87; 1-24 in 3 overs, IMPACT 1.69). Andre Russell barely achieved the same for DD (0-30 in 4 overs, 1.08; 16 off 11 balls, 1.04).
Bravo, the second-highest impact player for CSK in this match, was also the only CSK player to have a big match performance in both the playoffs so far (an IMPACT of over 4 in both). If he accomplishes this again in the final on Sunday, it would be a legendary performance.
An astonishing 9 CSK players had an IMPACT of over 1 in the match (registering below an IMPACT of 1 is measured as a failure in this system) – this is highly unusual (Jadeja and Badrinath did not get a chance to do anything in this match, otherwise it could actually have been all 11). It shows how much these players are pulling together as a team, and what makes them such strong contenders now, after being so out of it in the league phase.
3 CSK players had a higher impact than DD’s highest impact player.
DD’s highest impact player was Mahela Jayawardene (55 off 38 balls; IMPACT 3.72). The decision to promote him as an opener to partner Warner was not unsound if the objective was to increase Jayawardene’s impact but it was bizarre to break the Warner-Sehwag partnership as its cost. It led to DD’s biggest strength being neutralised even before it could do some damage.
On the subject of Sehwag the blunderer, the two bowlers who in a sense replaced Morkel – Andre Russell and Sunny Gupta, together registered a Bowling IMPACT of less than 0 as opposed to Morkel’s 2.52 in IPL 2012. Even in terms of Match IMPACT, both Russell and Gupta together had an IMPACT less than half of Morkel’s. Incidentally, Russell’s T20 Bowling IMPACT in 31 matches is 0.54 (Morkel’s is 1.61 in 55 matches). And in IPL 2012, Russell’s Bowling IMPACT in 3 matches is 0.04 with a 100% failure rate. This has to be one of the biggest blunders made in modern cricket history.
Interestingly, as per Impact Index, this was DD’s second-worst thrashing in IPL 2012 – the worst was also against CSK in Chennai exactly two weeks ago (when they lost by 9 wickets). That’s as prescient a sign as it can get. Presumably though, poor Morne Morkel, the toast of the IPL till then, would not have fathomed being dropped for Andre Russell.
KKR-CSK final preview coming up soon. Watch this space.
For more information, please see www.impactindexcricket.com