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Talking Points: RCB mis-read the pitch

ESPNcricinfo logo ESPNcricinfo 24-03-2019 Dustin Silgardo
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The Chepauk pitch turns square

With a spin-heavy home side, a spin-friendly pitch for the opener at the MA Chidambaram stadium would not have surprised many. But few would have expected balls to be turning from well outside off to leg and gripping and stopping so dramatically. Spinners accounted for 10 of the 12 wickets taken by bowlers in the match, and went at just 3.57 runs per over.

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Only once before has a team reported an IPL pitch. In 2011, Mumbai Indians lodged a complaint against the Jaipur pitch - the BCCI, according to then Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne, asked the Jaipur staff to change the pitch ahead of Royals' next home game. It's unlikely RCB will go down that route, but the Chepauk pitch will be under the scanner. Virat Kohli, the RCB captain, said after the game it was the kind of pitch neither team would have wanted in a T20 game.

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CSK get their XI right

CSK have always had wicket-taking spinners - only KKR have a greater percentage of their IPL wickets taken by spinners - and they decided to play three front-line spinners against RCB, with Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav available to bowl some extra overs of spin too. This meant sacrificing a batsman, Faf du Plessis, which also meant they went in with just three overseas players. Their spinners ended up with eight wickets, the joint-most number of wickets by spinners in an IPL innings. 

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Dhoni keeps the spinners on

Dwayne Bravo bowled just one ball and Shardul Thakur didn't bowl at all - that should tell you what MS Dhoni's strategy was once he saw what the pitch was doing. With two left-handers in RCB's top three, he opened the bowling with Harbhajan Singh, who had not taken a wicket in his last three T20s. He then bowled out Harbhajan at the top and did the same with Deepak Chahar from the other end. He also gave Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir full four-over spells, banking on them to finish off the visitors before he had to bring the fast bowlers in the death overs.

RCB read the conditions wrong

A sign that RCB had no idea what was in store for them was that they went in with three quicks - Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj and Navdeep Saini - and just Yuzvendra Chahal and Moeen Ali as frontline spin options. Kohli admitted after the game they were expecting the pitch to play much better.

Their batsmen didn't adjust quickly enough to the slowness of the wickets. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers were both out playing cross-batted shots and Shimron Hetmyer was out looking for a quick single on a pitch where 100-120 could have been a competitive total. Kohli said they were aiming for 140-150 at the start but 110 could have been sufficient.

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