We conjure up the top IPL T20 moments from the fascinating fourth week of IPL 2020:
1. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders:
The match took place at Sharjah, where the previous matches had been high scoring, full of entertainment. The fans were expecting yet another 'Run Fest' but that wasn’t the case to be.
RCB batting first was struggling to score freely with even the likes of Virat Kohli finding it hard to switch gears on a pitch which was not easy to bat. Ab de Villiers aka Mr.360 once again proved why he is considered inhuman when it comes to his batting as he smashed a 33 ball 73* as if he was batting on a different track altogether. The Ab de fireworks lit up Sharjah as RCB posted a total of 194 on the board.
KKR badly missed their star spinner, Sunil Narine who has been reported for his action. A second report of the action and he won’t be able to bowl further in the IPL tournament and as such KKR don’t seem to take grab on the big moments which is quite understandable.
The RCB bowlers wreaked havoc on a pitch which was proving difficult for the batsman to hit big. All the bowlers picked up a wicket at least, to restrict KKR to just 112. All-rounder Chris Morris seems to have completed the puzzle for RCB, fitting in perfectly to give a much-needed balance to the team, which could be the difference between just qualifying for the playoffs and finishing as Champions.
This was a much needed dominating victory by Kohli and co. which their fans had been waiting for a long time.
· RCB – 9.5 / 10
· KKR – 7 / 10
2. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings:
With not much going in favour of CSK this time around, they decided to change up the opening order while batting first. English allrounder Sam Curran opened the innings which came as a surprise since the opening pair of Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson have been performing well while opening the innings.
The CSK players seem to be learning from their past mistakes as most of them got starts and made it count. They have been guilty of eating up many deliveries in previous matches but that changed as they posted a decent total of 167.
The start for SRH wasn’t the one they would have hoped for as they lost their top 3 batsmen including skipper David Warner cheaply without causing much damage. Kane Williamson was the lone fighter for Sunrisers as he held his wicket from one end to keep the hopes alive. Williamson’s innings once again proved why he is considered one of the biggest players in the world as he kept SRH in the hunt.
A brilliant display of bowling and fielding by CSK paid dividends as they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 20 runs to keep their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.
CSK as a team knows what it takes to win when it matters the most under the leadership of MS Dhoni and this is the reason why no one can rule them out at any given time.
· CSK – 9 / 10
· SRH – 7 / 10
3. Delhi Capitals vs Rajasthan Royals:
This was probably the match where the fast bowlers stood out. An outstanding display of fast bowling in both the innings was a treat to watch as Jofra Archer, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje put on an exhibition of fast bowling.
Batting first DC managed to put up 161 onboard on the back of half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer. They could have probably had even more if it wasn’t for Archer’s brilliant bowling. Considered one of the most lethal bowlers in the world, Archer was on point picking up three crucial wickets to limit the total of Delhi Capitals.
The RR batsmen were next in line to face the heat. Anrich Nortje bowled some thunderbolts including three of the fastest deliveries bowled in the history of IPL.
RR was in control of the run chase and on course to chase down the target comfortably but the wicket of Sanju Samson changed everything. DC saw this as an opportunity to claw back into the game and grabbed it with both the hands. What followed was excellent bowling and fielding performance by Delhi Capitals to clinch the victory by 13 runs.
The consistent performance shown by Delhi has made them the team to beat in IPL 2020, and this match took them to the top of the table. Going by the form of Delhi Capitals, they are strong contenders for this year’s IPL trophy!
· DC – 9 / 10
· RR – 8 / 10
4. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings Xi Punjab:
A tale of two contrasting sides. While RCB were in the top half of the IPL Standings, KXIP languished at the bottom with just one win so far in the tournament. They were hoping for a change in their fortunes with the inclusion of Universal Boss Chris Gayle back into the team.
The game will be remembered for rather questionable decisions from the Royal challengers Bangalore management and Captain Kohli.
The openers got starts for RCB before they fell. With King Kohli at one end, everyone expected ABD to come in next but that wasn’t to be. The team had other plans as they sent two left-handers to tackle the KXIP leg spinners before AB De came into bat at 6. A decision which caused a lot of discussions and left some baffled as to how could a player of his calibre be left until so late.
The strategy did not work as ABD departed very cheaply and only a Chris Morris special at the end helped RCB reach a respectable total of 171 on a small Sharjah ground.
The KXIP openers, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal continued their fine form as they provided a fast start to the team. Mayank departed after a quickfire innings which brought Chris Gayle to the crease. Playing after a long time and for the first time in this year’s IPL, Gayle who usually is a destructive batsman, took his time to get settled in.
What followed was a classic performance for the man who has 13,000 + runs in the T20 format. The Gayle storm arrived at Sharjah as he along with Kl Rahul Smashed RCB bowlers to all parts of the park to take them close to the target.
With just 2 required off the last over, KXIP made it difficult for themselves, credit to brilliant bowling from Yuzvendra Chahal. Nicholas Pooran hit a last-ball six to take his time over the line to give his team just the second win of the tournament.
If KXIP can keep up performances like these, there is a ray of hope for the Punjab fans who have had to see their team struggle to get over the line.
· RCB – 7 / 10
· KXIP – 9 / 10
5. Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders:
This is probably the fixture KKR fans hate the most. The all-time record of 20-6 in favour of MI tells us why.
Batting first KKR were off to the worst possible start after half the team was back in the pavilion with just 61 runs on board. The success this season for Mumbai has been their bowling who was once again in top form with all the bowlers contributing.
Pat Cummins was the saviour for KKR as he justified his hefty price tag scoring a brilliantly made half-century to post a decent total on the board for KKR. With the position, they were in, MI would feel they let KKR off the hook.
The MI batting lineup has been churning out performances match after match with each batsman stepping up to the task. MI started to assert their domination form with both the openers of MI, Rohit Sharma and Quinton De Kock smashing the KKR all over the park.
De Kock and Hardik Pandya applied the finishing touches as MI once again dominated a KKR side. MI look like the team to beat this year with all the departments firing to complete perfect team performance. If they continue to perform like this, it would be difficult to stop them from winning their fifth IPL title.
MI – 9.5 / 10
KKR – 7 / 10