A flying A.B.Devilliers brings RCB closer to the playoffs. However I still believe in the high likelihood of a Game of Thrones style twist.
It has taken 13 matches for a significant shuffle of the Playing XI. This is my analysis after Week one.
Based on the conditions I have set in my index this is the new result.
Rahul, Dhawan and Sampson are sitting nicely in the top three. AB De Villiers is precariously standing at four. I was tempted to drop him and bring in Naraine to open with Rahul. Dhawan and Sampson would move one place lower. Nitesh Rana has forced himself into the side. Surprisingly it is the uncanny knack of getting very important wickets at the right time that has caused this. I have placed him at five and put Hardik Pandya at six. However, if De Villiers does not perform well then I may end up dropping De Villiers and putting Rana at four and Hardik at five. I dropped Sam Billings and brought in Shakib Al Hasan. Getting Shakib in meant that I had to drop Markande. I believe the spin department is covered by Ashwin, Hasan and Rana. I have dropped Woakes and brought in Trent Boult. I have dropped Umesh Yadav and brought in Siddarth Kaul instead. These changes have strengthened the batting and have given more bowling options. I expect this list to change again.
I would really like to hear your views on this especially if you have a different View of the playing XI.
This match fascinated me. The reason was the Duckworth Lewis Stern method (D/L) came into play. Rajasthan scored 153/5 off 17.5 overs. This equated to Delhi needing 70 runs off six overs. My index showed that the performance of RR was nearly three times better than Delhi. If I am not mistaken the net run rate for RR would have increased by 1.67 because of the win. This is 14.3% of the run rate of RR after accounting for D/L. I examined my assumptions and calculations after the result and found nothing that indicated that this difference was an anomaly or an existence of a bias against teams batting second. Looking at purely the batting points; the team batting second will get lower base points than the first team but they are sufficient checks to ensure that they will be able to score more points despite this.
Delhi just succumbed to the pressure. Munro getting run out without playing a ball had a huge impact. Maxwell and Pant did not contribute to the cause either. They were not able to get the required run rate from any bowler apart from Jaydev. The fate of the game seemed to have been decided as soon as the runout happened. Everything else was just a formality from that point onwards.
Rajasthan Royals and Delhi have huge problems to iron out. Munro is the weakest link in the team. To have that in the form of an opener is even worse. DD needs Munro to score, He is not like Naraine where any run by Naraine for KKR is a bonus. Morris has to start bowling better. For Rajasthan Royals, the biggest elephant in the room is Ben Stokes. His performance so far has not justified his price tag. Both these teams have to improve if they would like to get into the playoffs,
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals were in the news for all the wrong reasons. However all the demons seemed to have disappeared at least for SRH despite Williamson saying that David Warner will be missed. If their bowling was good then their batting was excellent. Questions were raised about whether Williamson would be able to play T20 properly but there is no reason why there is any need to hit every ball out of the park. Dhawan batted extremely well. All Williamson had to do was to provide Dhawan support. Once again Williamson used the resources he had well.
The big compliment for SRH though is their bowlers. They used five bowlers and all of them bowled well. They had Yusuf Pathan but he was not used. This is exactly what my thinking was when I proposed the addition of adding another all-rounder by RCB. A team does not need most of its players to bowl but it helps. SRH has the best bowling performance so far and deservedly so. The first match is a far harbringer of the finals but it looks like Rajasthan Royals will miss Steve Smith more than SRH will miss David Warner.