Ravichandran Ashwin again made news for his batting. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Australian all-rounder Ben Cutting expressed surprise at Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) decision to promote Ravichandran Ashwin to No. 3 in the chase against the Gujarat Titans (GT). The two teams clashed in IPL 2022 match on Thursday.
RR were set a target of 193 to chase at the DY Patil Stadium by GT. After Devdutt Padikkal fell for a golden duck, the franchise sent in Ashwin as a pinch-hitter. The move backfired though as the veteran cricketer was out for a run-a-ball 8.
Debating the ploy on ESPNcricinfo, Cutting admitted that it was quite a bewildering decision. The 35-year-old said:
“I was as surprised as everyone else. Not quite sure what the idea was behind it. If they are looking at quick runs, there are other guys who can do just as good if not a better job. They are specialist batsmen as well. Got 20 overs to think about it, but couldn’t make sense of it.”
Sharing his views on the same topic, former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar described the Royals’ tactics as “ridiculous”, especially with Jos Buttler going great guns at one end. He opined:
“(Sanju) Samson was the next guy in. You didn’t like him at No.4, but when you had the option you dropped (Yashasvi) Jaiswal and now you had the option of sending Samson at 3.”
“I can understand the need for sending a pinch-hitter when there are two steady players. With Buttler going hell for leather, it was a bizarre move. There was absolutely no need for it. It was ridiculous.”
RR were 56 for 1 after five overs in the chase. However, Lockie Ferguson dismissed both Ashwin and Buttler in the last over of the powerplay. In the end, Gujarat won the match quite easily by 37 runs.
“Took a special delivery to get Buttler” – Ben Cutting praises Ferguson for amazing bowling in RR vs GT match
Ferguson bowled Buttler with a perfectly disguised slower-ball yorker, immediately after being scooped for a six. Analyzing the dismissal, Cutting said that GT needed something extraordinary to end the RR opener’s brilliant knock. The Aussie elaborated:
“It was special innings and it took a special delivery to get Buttler. To have that control to bowl a slower ball yorker and get that perfectly to someone who is hitting the ball as clean as he was… The way Lockie bowled was pretty amazing.”
Buttler was dismissed for 54 off 24 and his wicket left Rajasthan in trouble at 65/3. They could never recover and ended up on 155/9.