IPL 2020: Top 5 game-changers and flops from Week 1

The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) has already unfolded some high-octane clashes with the best in the business trying to prove their worth. The battles both on and off the pitch has begun as we come to an end of Week 1.

There have been some spectacular all-round display of cricket and in one week alone, we have witnessed 200+ scores, centuries, controversial moments and some brilliant bowling.

This year is already shaping up to be one of the best seasons the IPL due to its unpredictability. This year, we have seen how one moment can change a game completely in a team’s favor. These game-changing moments also gave fans a reason to watch the game until the end as anything can happen at any moment.

With all the thrilling finishes and game-changing moments, we highlight the top 5 game-changers  that stood out from the 1st week of the IPL.

Ambati Rayudu (Chennai Super Kings)

34-year-old Rayudu played a mature hand in Chennai’s win over Mumbai in the IPL opener, with his 48-ball 71. Rayudu walked in when CSK were in a spot of bother, having lost openers Shane Watson (4) and Murali Vijay (1) inside the 1st 2 overs. Rayudu batted at No.4 on Saturday in the rejigged CSK batting order due to the absence of vice-captain Suresh Raina who had pulled out of IPL 2020.

Rayudu cared very little for reputations as he took on the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult while dominating spinners Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar. Rayudu and du Plessis added 115 runs for the 3rd wicket as they not just steered CSK out of trouble but took them closer to a win.

Mayank Agarwal (Kings XI Punjab)

KXIP’s Mayank Agarwal played one of the bravest innings so far in the IPL 2020 season but unfortunately ended up on the losing side. Chasing 158, Kings XI Punjab were off to a disastrous start. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals and found them reeling at 55 for 5 at one stage.

Agarwal held from one end and played a stunner to keep his team in the hunt. He combined with K Gowtham for a 46-run stand that raised his side’s hope and reached his fifty off 45 balls with the first of the two sixes he hit off Mohit Sharma in the 18th over.

The equation was finally down to 13 runs off the last over. Agarwal started in the best possible fashion by dispatching the first ball for a six and with 1 run needed off the last three balls, the stage was set for Agarwal to finish the night on a good note.

However, he failed to do so and was out on the fifth ball before Chris Jordan followed suit as the match went to super over. In the super over, Kings XI Punjab managed just two runs and ended up losing the game.

KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab)

KL Rahul produced the first century of the IPL 2020 plundering an unbeaten knock of 132 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday. What made the knock even more special was not only the fact that it was Rahul’s IPL hundred, but the couple of impressive feats he registered during his epic inning.

Rahul reached his fifty off 36 balls and took just 26 more to get to the three-figure mark. His knock contained 14 fours and seven sixes, powering Kings XI Punjab to an impressive 206/3. However, during his knock, Rahul owned a couple of impressive individual feats. The KXIP skipper’s knock was the highest individual score by an IPL and also the highest score registered by an Indian cricketer in the IPL.

Rahul overtook David Warner’s 126 against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2017 to own the record for the highest individual score by a captain in the IPL. Behind Warner, it’s Virender Sehwag’s 119 for the Delhi Capitals (then Daredevils) at the third place, followed by Virat Kohli’s knocks of 113, 109 and 108* against Kings XI, Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant respectively, all scored during the 2016 edition of the IPL.

Rahul Tewatia (Rajasthan Royals)

The spinner produced a game-changing performance by taking 3 crucial wickets to guide Rajasthan Royals (RR) to a 16 runs win in their opening IPL 2020 fixture. Tewatia ended with figures of 3-37 from his four overs and although didn’t recieve the MoM award, he earned the praises of fans and pundits for his spectacular bowling spell to dismantle CSK’s power-packed batting lineup single handedly.

Prithvi Shaw (Delhi Capitals)

Prithvi Shaw scored his first half-century of the season  that gave Delhi Capitals a brilliant start against Chennai Super Kings which they converted into a comprehensive 44 runs win.

Courtesy of Shaw’s brilliant 43-ball 64 which comprised four boundaries and a six, DC climbed to the top of the IPL 2020 table after Week 1.

Shaw who started the tournament in a rather lukewarm fashion finally hit the sweet spot of his bat with a 33-ball fifty and stitched a 94-run opening stand with Shikhar Dhawan.

The first week of IPL 2020 is all done and dusted – with some cliff hangers to start the tournament followed by a few one-sided contests. Insidesport looks into the missed chances and flops that happened the opening week of the 13th edition of the tournament

Butter fingers

Most of the players are coming off a long break and have looked rusty at times, especially in the field. The seven matches have witnessed as many as 17 catches go down – 13 of which has come in the four matches played in Dubai. RCB have been again at the top of the table of an unwanted record grassing as many as six catches from two games, followed by DC who dropped five. RCB were at the top of the dropped chances list last season as well with 24 failed attempts and they duly finished as the wooden spoon holders.

Choosing to field first and unable to defend

 What is normal for the past few seasons have been teams chasing down targets more in the first half of the summer and the trend reversing in the second leg after pitches get worn out.

In the ongoing IPL, captains have opted to chase in all the seven matches and have won only once – CSK beating MI in the opening encounter, which was followed by six straight victories to teams batting first (including a Super Over win). The reason attributed by captains is dew in the second half (there hasn’t been a day game yet this season) which would help the ball come on to the bat easier.

Teams batting first were leading 4-3 after first seven games in 2015 and 2019 but chasing teams held the sway in the first week in four of the other seasons in this period. Perhaps taking dew into account, the sides batting first have understood the importance of a few extra runs to account for it, which has resulted in the highest average first innings scores in the last few seasons of IPL.