IPL 2022: KL Rahul, Mohsin Khan lord over Delhi Capitals

There’s a batting template that KL Rahul and Jos Buttler are setting this IPL—bat deep into the innings. On Sunday afternoon, Lucknow Super Giants captain Rahul rolled out another masterclass of anchoring and and pacing the innings as his side set a formidable target of 196 for Delhi Capitals.

Rahul’s immaculately paced 51-ball 77 triumphed Capitals’ boom-and-burst batting method as LSG registered a tight six-run win at the Wankhede Stadium. For most part of the chase, it seemed it was the Capitals who were acing the power hitting but Rahul and Deepak Hooda’s clean and steady second-wicket partnership of 95 off 61 balls had a greater impact on the game.

LSG management’s eye for talent and the firmly backing unheralded cricketers was underlined by left-arm seamer Mohsin Khan’s return of 4/16. The brisk Mohsin came out with a clear plan for each Capitals batter and implemented it perfectly. He started off by stifling Prithvi Shaw up-front in the chase with short deliveries aimed at his body.

He then came back, altered his pace and length to dismiss David Warner, Rishabh Pant, Rovman Powell and Shardul Thakur to take the heart out of Capitals’ batting. Mohsin’s spell would be a lesson for a rather erratic and toothless Capitals seam attack.

Here’s the thing with Rahul’s approach to T20 batting. At a time when the world is scurrying to ape England’s attack-all-the-way template, he has chosen to bat deep without taking too many risks in the powerplay. Even on Sunday, his strike-rate hovered around 100 even as Hooda was stroking away to his 34-ball 52 at the other end. One would have been compelled to think if LSG were falling behind on a placid track.

Yet, Rahul remained unfazed, picked his bowlers, got the odd big hit away and steadily picked up his strike rate. Eventually, when he creamed a square drive off Shardul Thakur to Lalit Yadav at the point boundary in the 19th over, he finished with a strike-rate of 151. If it wasn’t for Marcus Stoinis’ struggles with the bat in the death, LSG were eyeing a much bigger score.

00In contrast, Capitals had no one batting deep as has been the case right through the tournament. Every batter, barring Shaw, Warner and Lalit Yadav, got off to a flyer and ended up playing cameos. That Mitchell Marsh (37 off 20) didn’t challenge the umpire’s decision when he was given out caught behind off Ravi Bishnoi, despite the replays saying otherwise, didn’t help.

Pant (44 off 30) and Powell (35 off 21) fell when Capitals needed them to bring the game home in the back end of the match. It left too much to do for Axar Patel who finished unbeaten on 42 off 24. With five games remaining, things are getting tight for Capitals who have just eight points on the table. They will need someone from the batting lineup to stand up and take responsibility to close out games.