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IPL 2022: Should RCB drop Mohammed Siraj? And other burning questions from RCB vs CSK – Firstcricket News, Firstpost

RCB are back in the top four after a 13-run win over CSK in the IPL 2022 contest on Wednesday. Here we ask a few burning questions from the high-octane clash:

How bad are RCB against spin?

After a powerplay that saw RCB rack up 57 runs, Chennai Super Kings applied the choke on the RCB batters with spinners. Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali bowled uninterrupted spells of four overs apiece in tandem, leaking just 53 runs in eight overs, an economy rate under seven runs per over, while taking three wickets. That the three wickets came at the start of the middle overs further dented RCB.

RCB’s middle overs issue isn’t new. They suffered a similar issue last season and have struggled to adapt here again despite having a different looking side. In 2022, RCB have lost 29 wickets to spinners, the most by any team. They also average less than 20 (second worst) while striking at a rate of 118.89 (second worst).

It’s not the first time that a team has used spinners to strangle RCB, but here with eight overs coming from the same duo in quick succession, RCB lost the entire momentum they have built up in the powerplay courtesy of Faf du Plessis.

Why Mahipal Lomror is a great addition to the RCB middle-order

Mahipal Lomror played a crucial knock in helping RCB out of a tricky 79/3 at the end of the first 10 overs. Virat Kohli had just been dismissed, and Lomror, still new at the crease, was in charge of holding his end up and also ensuring the run rate wasn’t going down too much. Lomror put on a show, smashing 42 at a strike-rate of over 150. By the time he was dismissed, Lomror had ensured RCB had crossed the 150-run mark.

A left-hander expected to start in the middle-order right from the start of the season, RCB took time to bring Lomror in and the returns are already evident. A crucial 8-ball 16 against Gujarat Titans in the death overs was followed by this fantastic knock, where he looked at ease against pace and spin.

His IPL numbers show he is a better spin hitter than pace hitter (133 strike-rate against spin, and 123 against pace). In the RCB middle-order, with Maxwell and Rajat Patidar, Lomror will be key as a left-hander to take down the spinners and also keep pacers away. This season, in the two matches, Lomror had shown the ability to go big against pace too. In 15 balls against fast bowlers, he has scored 36 runs at a rapid strike-rate of 240!

Maheesh Theekshana took three wickets as CSK defeated RCB. Sportzpics

How Maheesh Theekshana is proving he was a complete steal at the auction for CSK

Bought for just 70 lakhs, Maheesh Theekshana has been the most valuable player of the season considering his auction price. With 11 wickets in seven matches, Theekshana has an average of 18.9 and an economy rate of just 7.43. Importantly, Theekshana has thrived across phases. In the powerplay, he has five wickets while going at a rate of just 7.36.

But CSK have been smart enough to use his mystery spin against key matchups. Last night, he was saved for Dinesh Karthik, who is much better against pace than spin, and Theekshana ensured Karthik’s impact was minimised. He conceded just six runs off seven balls against Karthik in the death, and while he did not dismiss the death overs hitter, Theekshana minimised the damage with two brilliant overs, where he picked up three other wickets.

How a brave call from Faf turned the game on its head

With CSK needing 65 runs off six overs with seven wickets in hand and a well-set Devon Conway at the crease, Faf du Plessis threw the ball to Wanindu Hasaranga, who had conceded 22 runs in two overs until that point. Importantly, it was against the matchup theories with the leg spinner asked to bowl to two left-handers in Conway and Moeen Ali. It was a risky move, no doubt, but with Hasaranga having a deceptive googly, it was a punt worth taking.

And it worked. Hasaranga had Conway out slogging to the deep and although he conceded a six off the last ball in the over, the floodgates were opened. Faf du Plessis wasted no time in pressing that advantage by bringing on Harshal Patel, who further damaged CSK’s innings by sending back Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali in successive overs.

Should RCB drop Mohammed Siraj?

Before the match against Chennai Super Kings, Mohammed Siraj stressed that he hadn’t been able to perform according to his own expectations.

“I haven’t performed the way I wanted to. What the team wants from Siraj, I haven’t been able to do that so far. I am focusing my preparation on my role which is to get wickets in the powerplay and set the tone for the team. That’s my plan,” Siraj told host broadcaster Star Sports.

Mohammed Siraj's powerplay bowling has been underwhelming this season. Sportzpics

Mohammed Siraj’s powerplay bowling has been underwhelming this season. Sportzpics

This is true. In the powerplay this season, Siraj has been a shadow of his usual self. He has taken four wickets while going at an economy rate of 9.04, the worst among the nine bowlers to bowl 100 balls in the powerplay this year. Notably, he was one of the best in this phase last year in the IPL, clocking an economy rate of 6.44.

With Josh Hazlewood, Shahbaz Ahmed, Glenn Maxwell and the exciting Chama Milind in the reserves, it’s probably time for RCB to bench Siraj for a few games. With him struggling in the death overs too, RCB are giving away important runs across two crucial phases.

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