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Turning Point: Iyer outfoxes Kohli

By HARISH KOTIAN
October 06, 2020 08:00 IST
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IMAGE: Delhi Capitals Captain Shreyas Iyer, right, with Royal Challengers Bangalore Skipper Virat Kohli, at the toss. Photograph: BCCI/IPL

As a captain, Shreyas Iyer has been under-rated in the IPL.

Shreyas -- who turns 26 on December 6 -- has led Delhi Capitals from the front with the bat, while showing some good moves on the field, especially with his clever bowling changes at the right time.

He has seen his team rise to the top of the IPL standings with four wins from five games.

On Monday, October 5, he outwitted his India skipper Virat Kohli when DC played the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai.

Winning the toss was possibly the only thing that went in Kohli's favour. But his decision to bowl first raised startled folks as all seven teams which had elected to bowl first at this venue before this game had finished on the losing side.

Delhi made most of batting first on a flat wicket. They adopted a positive approach right from the start with Prithvi Shaw hitting a quickfire 42 from 23 balls, to give his team the impetus.

Shaw's attacking approach against RCB's two best bowlers -- Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini -- in the early overs was a setback for Kohli.

Iyer (11) may have perished cheaply in pursuit of quick runs, but he reacted well by promoting the dangerous Marcus Stoinis ahead of Shimron Hetmyer.

That move proved to be a masterstroke as Stoinis made the difference with the bat in the end overs, with his quickfire 53 not out from 26 balls, which powered Delhi to a huge 196/4 in their 20 overs.

When Chahal dropped Stoinis at deep midwicket off Saini in the 15th over, that was a crucial moment as the Australian made RCB pay big time for the lapse.

Kohli struggled with his bowlers. He miscalculated by not completing the quota of his best bowler Chahal, who bowled three overs. His decision to use all pace at the end backfired as Delhi smashed 79 runs from the last six overs.

On the other hand, Iyer was quick to react on the field and kept in touch with the flow of the game. He brought in spin early as Ravichandran Ashwin bowled the third over and the experienced spinner struck with the key wicket of the in-form Devdutt Padikkal in his first over.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was brought in from the end and he had the other RCB opener -- Aaron Finch -- caught behind for 13.

With his smart bowling moves, Iyer never let RCB's batsmen settle into the game, especially Kohli, who never got going.

With A B de Villiers and Moeen Ali not making much of a contribution with the bat, the onus lay on Kohli to get his team back into the hunt.

But Iyer ended RCB's hopes by bringing back strike bowler Kagiso Rabada in the 14th over. Just when Kohli was looking to change gears and take charge, Rabada delivered with the ball.

Kohli was caught behind for 43 as he went for the heave over the leg side. Not only were RCB outplayed in all departments by Delhi, their skipper was outdone by his opposite number.

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