This edition of the IPL has been one of its kind. With no team looking superior even after the second week of the tournament. The captains have played a vital role in keeping up the morale and taking decisive decisions during the vital phases of the matches. The small ground in Sharjah was more of a graveyard for the bowlers and many renowned international and experienced bowlers were at the receiving end.
Now, with each team in the league has been defeated at least once, the captains are still applying the logic of permutations and combination to find out what is the best combination for their respective team. Even though we are in the first phase of the tournament, the second and third week is one of the vital phases of the tournament for every team.
During the first two weeks of the IPL 2020, the captains took some interesting and game-changing decisions during the matches which turned the course of the game. As the third week of the tournament is starting, the captains and teams can still have a look at their overseas players and team combination to ensure that they make up for the mistakes which were committed during the first two weeks of the tournament.
Here are the ratings for the captains for the first two weeks of IPL 2020:
8. KL Rahul (KXIP)- 6
Without any doubt, KL Rahul is one of the finest limited-overs batsmen in the game. This year, things are in favour of the Indian opener as his side comprises many talented players.
However, the team started the tournament shakily, the lost a close game via Super Over against Delhi Capitals due to a tactical error by the captain and team management. With Mayank Agarwal well acquainted with the conditions, the team opted for Rahul and Pooran ahead of Agarwal in the Super Over. And with a fiery Rabada destroyed their chances for securing a win.
Well, the team made a strong comeback and sent out a clear message to the critics by securing a huge win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, with the captain leading them from the front, scoring a brilliant hundred and rotating the bowlers while defending a score of 206. Eventually, KXIP won by 97 runs.
After a successful first week in office, KXIP went to Sharjah with confidence. And Rahul, along with his childhood friend, Mayank Agarwal took KIXP to a massive score of 223-2. Well, everything was going well for the kings with Rahul Tewatia looking clueless.
But a 30-run over from Cottrell took the game away from Punjab and they suffered their second loss of the tournament. Moving on to the next game, Rahul had steered the bowling attack perfectly till the 10th over, but his tactics of bowling off the pacers and giving the final over to an off-spinner with the likes of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard was a deciding factor of the match as Gowtham leaked 25 runs off the final over.
Talking about the team combination, KXIP has many issues to look after. Shami, Bishnoi, and Cottrell have been up to the mark, but they lack two bowlers who can chip in and bowl some economical overs. Adding on, Rahul must look after their middle order which was completely exposed against the Mumbai Indians. He gets a rating of 6 for his captaincy during the first two weeks of the IPL.
7. Dinesh Karthik (Kolkata Knight Riders)- 6.5
The Kolkata Knight Riders, under Dinesh Karthik, horrifically started their campaign with a humiliating loss against Mumbai Indians. Although, the side has managed to get some wins under their belt in the first two weeks of the tournament. And this credit somehow goes to Dinesh Karthik for trusting veterans like Pat Cummins and youngsters like Mavi and Nagarkoti.
During the first week, the team never showed the best of its capabilities and Karthik had used Cummins wrongly during their match against Mumbai Indians. Adding on, his form has affected the team’s morale and making unnecessary changes has not helped the Knight Riders But, the side had an excellent comeback against SRH by restricting them to an under-par score and later on, easily chasing it.
Against the Capitals, it was evident from Karthik’s bowling changes that, he was not sure of Mavi’s abilities to bowl at the depth. Also, sending Cummins before a certified opener in the form of Rahul Tripathi. Taking about some changes, well it is time for Tom Banton to open for the Knight Riders.
Also, sending Morgan only when the situation is critical is not justiciable. Maybe, it is the time Morgan to take over the captaincy from Karthik. For his poor decisions, out-of-form batting, and team selection, Karthik gets a rating of 6.5.
6. MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings)- 7
The greatest limited-overs captain of India has been the kernel of the Chennai based franchise since 2008. His game-changing moves and knocks have helped CSK to win from unimaginable situations. Also, CSK has won three IPL titles under Dhoni and is the only side to successfully defend the title. However, the first week was more like the year 2020. Yes, strange and surprising!
Known for retaining the core over the years, the team has been very consistent and has qualified for the playoffs every season. But, this time, even after a comprehensive win over the Mumbai Indians, the bowling attack was demolished at Sharjah, against Rajasthan Royals where Dhoni’s plans to take the benefit of dew backfired. Also, with Rayudu being injured, the team balance was heavily affected, and the batsmen failed to deliver except Faf du Plessis. After the match, Dhoni’s approach towards the run chased was criticized by the fans and former cricketers.
Moving on to the next game against Delhi Capitals, the bowling attack saw the inclusion of Josh Hazelwood, who had a decent outing, and the former champions were set a target of 176. With a formidable and experienced batting line up like CSK, everyone was expecting them to win this game, but the sheer brilliance of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje ensured that Dhoni and his men had a difficult outing with the bat and eventually, due to a low run rate, the team lost.
Dhoni has been CSK’s torchbearer for many years. But, this year, the team has been performing poorly and is dependent on the likes of Faf, Dhoni, and Rayudu to guide them to victory. During their match against SRH, they repeated the same mistake, and hence, there are multiple questions to answer. Dhoni gets a rating of 7 for his captaincy as the team’s performance has been disappointing due to lack of a solid start from the top order.
5. Steve Smith (Rajasthan Royals)- 7.5
Rajasthan Royals have been the side that had dominated the first ten days of the tournament. With Smith playing as an opener, he has made sure that the team gets off to a good start, a factor that other franchises have overlooked. During their opening encounter against CSK, Smith along with Sanju Samson gave the Chennai bowlers a nightmare which opened the doors of three consecutive losses.
The team boasts of a very strong side with big names like Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, and Ben Stokes(although he is yet to join the squad) along with captain Smith. He played a beautiful, well-crafted knock of 69(49). Apart from scoring vital runs, Smith has been managing his bowlers superbly, which was evident when he used Jofra Archer to attack a well-settled Shubman Gill during their encounter against KKR.
Taking about Smith, he took a brave decision of sending Rahul Tewatia up the order, and although he was not able to hit the ball, later, he went after Cottrell and eventually, Rajasthan won the game comfortably. But, in the very next game, against KKR, the Royals experienced a top-order failure that exposed their middle order to the unfavourable circumstances.
Talking about his captaincy against RCB, after another top-order failure, Rajasthan’s middle-order somehow managed to post a decent score but was unable to defend it. So, there are some serious issues which must be addressed by Smith. Due to a mediocre team selection and personal performance, Smith gets a rating of 7.5.
4. David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)- 8
The 2016 IPL winning captain’s first week in the current edition was lukewarm. Warner’s first move which backfired was not opting for a batsman like Kane Williamson. Also, Marsh’s injury hindered the team’s balance which was not rectified by Warner against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
During the first week, in their very first game, the bowlers failed to break the opening partnership and the line and length were not up to the mark. Also, the middle order was not able to accelerate during the final phases of the inning against KKR, and 142 was never enough even for a good bowling attack like the SRH.
However, the second week witnessed the inclusion of Kane Williamson in the playing eleven and the foreign players were up to the mark this time, with Rashid Khan taking 3 wickets for 14 runs in his four overs.
When Abhishek Sharma was interviewed after a good partnership with Priyam Garg, he stated that David and the coaching staff give full freedom to the youngsters, which means the risk of having an inexperienced line up has somehow paid off and the credit does goes to Warner for trusting the youngsters. During their match against CSK, when an experienced Kumar was injured, he trusted Ahmed and je delivered. The Australian southpaw gets a rating of 8 for his captaincy.
3. Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)- 8
The Indian captain has been a part of the Bangalore based franchise since 2008. Since his early days, the franchise has always backed the batsman and has retained him over the years. With the rise of Virat Kohli as the best in the game, RCB has been a batting powerhouse since 2011. But their bowling has been disappointing post the Daniel Vettori era. And this has been their weak post for the last 9 long years.
The very first two weeks have been different for the challengers. Yes, different in the sense that they have bounced back from a heavy defeat. Virat Kohli’s tactics paid off against the Sunrisers as the debutant Devdutt and the very experienced AB de Villiers helped the team to post a decadent total and to everyone’s shock, Kohli’s bowlers managed to defend the total.
However, Virat’s team could not carry out the momentum from the first game and they had to face a 97 run defeat in the second game against KXIP. With Virat failing to score for the second time! Another instance that shocked the fans was Virat Kohli dropping two catches and as a result of which the bowlers conceded 49 runs from the Punjab skipper. Also, there were a lot of questions raised regarding the selection of Josh Phillippe.
The second week was a much better one for the Indian captain. Although he failed to score again and his weakness against the leg spinners was exposed, De Villers and Dube ensured that the team posted a huge total. However, the bowling attack was leaking runs usually and even after being at 39/3 the Mumbai Indians managed to tie the game.
However, by making a wise choice in the Super Over by opting for Saini, Kohli had a better second week in the office as the pacer conceded only seven runs. Virat continued his good time in captaincy by implementing impressive bowling changes against the Royals and later on, his cautious knock in the second inning ensured that there were no hiccups for the Royal Challengers. Virat gets a rating of 8.
2. Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)- 8.5
The most successful team is well known for its poor performance during the initial phases of the tournament and this year, it was no different. The defending champions lost the first game of the tournament against CSK. But, since then, it has been a different story for Rohit Sharma’s men.
The captain was in sublime form against the KKR and KXIP but failed to make a mark against CSK and RCB, scoring half-centuries in both the occasions. Apart from that, he has been setting up fields and using the pace bowlers along with the Pandya brothers exceedingly well.
Since 2013, the hitman has ensured that even if there is a close encounter, the players keep their feet on the ground. This tactic has paid off well for the Mumbai franchise. Even when we look down the match against RCB, Rohit’s men were able to make a remarkable comeback in the match. Hence, the loss against Virat’s Challengers did not hurt their morale.
During their encounter against KXIP, Rohit was very clear about the bowling changes and putting pressure on Maxwell even when Pooran was clearing the park easily. A good captaincy with a clear team combination has enabled Mumbai Indians to get off a better start to the season. Now, it will be interesting to see how Rohit adjusts his bowlers at Sharjah, which is considered as a graveyard for the bowlers. Rohit gets a rating of 8.5 for his captaincy.
1. Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Capitals)- 9.5
The young Indian batsman has done a terrific job so far in the tournament. Under his leadership, DC have found themselves in the top four positions after winning the first two games and losing one. Starting off the campaign with a Super Over followed by a brilliant overall display against CSK, the team of Delhi Capitals is one of the strong contenders for the title.
Talking about the team combination, Shreyas has the perfect one because his team comprises of the strongest Indian batting line up along with thee powerhouse of Stoinis and Rabada. The young captain has managed the team well which was depicted during their game against KXIP where he opted for Rabada during the Super Over and hence it turned out to be a decisive move in the match.
However, the team lost against the Sunrisers due to Rashid Khan’s brilliant bowling performance and was able to make a great comeback against the Knight Riders. By, scoring a quickfire 88 off 38 balls, he helped his team to post a mammoth total of 228-4 in Sharjah.
Even when Morgan and Tripathi were clearing the fence, he kept his cool and made the necessary and logical decisions, the prominent one being opting for Stoinis instead of Ashwin. For his excellent captaincy and batting, Shreyas gets a rating of 9.5.
Another interesting week of this edition is over. Now, let us hope these teams put up another week full of excitement and nail-biting finishes!
~Written by Kumar Tatwamasi
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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