What’s the story?
Shreyas Iyer, the Delhi Daredevil who made a rapid unbeaten 50 in his side’s defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad, refused to divulge on whether he thought the team’s move to send in Angelo Mathews ahead of Chris Morris was a good one.
"It wouldn't be proper on my part to answer the question," Iyer said. "I was batting in the middle and I ain't privy to the decisions taken by the team management," he continued.
Despite persistent attempts to garner a response on Delhi’s odd decisions, Iyer wouldn’t budge and stayed coy.
"It's the team management that decides on the strategy. They take the call based on the conditions and the match, I am not the one taking those decisions," said the Mumbai-born player.
It’s not the first time the Daredevils have been criticised for peculiar batting decisions this IPL. Exhilarating 19-year-old wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant has been nestled in the middle-order, with many suggesting he bat much higher up, perhaps even open.
The heart of the matter
Morris has been one of the star performers of the tournament with bat and ball. The latter we saw in this game, the former we’ve seen in previous ones. For that reason, their reluctance to use the South African in a scenario which looked perfect for his skills came as a surprise.
When the fourth wicket fell, Delhi required a further 87 runs from 41 balls. But instead of opting for Morris – who smashed 38 not out from nine balls earlier in the event and has a T20 strike-rate of 156.24 – they went for Mathews. The plan didn’t work, with the Sri Lankan putting together just 31 from 23 as the rate ballooned uncontrollably.
Iyer at the other end had done his utmost to keep Delhi in the mix, with a 31-ball 50 not out.
Morris eventually came to the crease with one ball left, which he didn’t face – not that it would have mattered as the Daredevils lost by 15.
After a promising first three games to IPL 2017, Delhi are now in a bit of a slump, with confusion off the pitch affecting their chances on it. It won’t get any easier for them: their next assignment is at the Wankhede Stadium to take on the thriving Mumbai Indians on Saturday night.
The Daredevils management seems completely inept right now when it comes to selecting their batting order, which is frustrating, as they have such versatility.
That Morris, who has battered bowlers late on with regularity in this IPL, wasn’t brought in after the fall of the fourth wicket was a shocking move. Mathews never looked like providing the two-a-ball impetus needed late in the chase.
The reality is that this is a good Delhi side whose players aren’t getting the chance to fully flourish – poor strategy could well cost them. It was good to see Pant a little higher up, even though it didn’t pay off this time.