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Talking Points - Why Kings XI were unusually aggressive in the Powerplay

Chris Gayle raises his bat after reaching 50 BCCI

What's the hurry, KL?

If you have been watching KL Rahul and Chris Gayle set themselves up for long innings this season, you might have wondered why Rahul made a frenetic start to his innings. You might have thought about the extra urgency to the start of Gayle's innings. You would almost certainly have criticised Mayank Agarwal for what looked like reckless approach in the Powerplay.

Dig deeper, and you will see the Feroz Shah Kotla is such a slow pitch that you have to do all your running in the Powerplay. Once the field spreads, it is next to impossible to force the pace. Before this match, the ratio of runs scored in the Powerplay to runs scored in the middle overs (7-15) at the Kotla was 0.79, the highest among all the grounds this season.

It should be no surprise, therefore, that visiting teams have tried to maximise their Powerplay run-scoring here. Mumbai Indians did it, as did Chennai Super Kings when they came to Delhi. Kings XI Punjab came with the same plan.

Tik… wait for it… Tok

TikTok the app might be banned in India, but the catch that sounds like that is definitely not, as Colin Ingram displayed in getting Chris Gayle out. This one, though, was an incredible version of the catch. Gayle pulled Sandeep Lamichhane towards straight deep midwicket where Ingram took the catch, but he was falling over the boundary and didn't have anyone near him to relay the ball to. He still had the presence of mind to look around, find Axar Patel at wide long-on, and impart enough power to throw the ball that far. Axar didn't have to move an inch to complete the catch. Ingram's body at that time was at 34 degrees to the ground, according to Star Sports, which means he was more than halfway down when he released the ball. To generate that much power in an underarm throw from there was amazing.

Deliberations at the toss

The last time these two teams met, Delhi Capitals complained about Kings XI Punjab taking their slowpokes Gayle and Sarfaraz Khan off the field for all 20 overs. Substitute Karun Nair took a pretty good catch to dismiss Ingram in that match, during Capitals' incredible late collapse.

It's easier for teams to take liberties with their substitutes if they've batted first. If they bat second, you never know if umpires will allow a Gayle or a Sarfaraz to bat in their usual positions.

Capitals won the toss here, and had the option of batting first, given the slowness of the Kotla pitch. Sarfaraz wasn't playing today, but having to field first could have forced Kings XI to keep Gayle on the field.

However, mindful of the dew, Capitals decided to ask Kings XI to bat first. Towards the end of the first innings, the dew did set in, which proved to be a game-changer in the second innings. It was a big enough factor to counter the slow nature of the pitch and the tactical substitutes that Kings XI were free to make.

Dhawan backs up the right way… and flaunts it too

In the 13th over of their match against Rajasthan Royals, with the score at 108 for 1, R Ashwin ran Jos Buttler out without delivering the ball. In the 13th over of the match against the Capitals, with the score 108 for 1, Ashwin tried the same with Shiukhar Dhawan, but Dhawan showed he wasn't going to leave the crease until the ball had left Ashwin's hand.

Just to rub it in, when Ashwin ran in for the next ball, Dhawan got well outside the crease and danced, but with his bat behind the line. It was the batsmen striking back against Ashwin, who has made no bones about using that particular run-out as a tactic. Expect more batsmen to stay in the crease now, the way Dhawan did.