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Indian Premier League 2020

‘Big mistake’ – Kings XI Punjab criticised for decision not to send Mayank Agarwal out to face super over

Mayank super over
Aadya Sharma by Aadya Sharma
@Aadya_Wisden 3-minute read

A thrilling run-chase, including a controversial short-run call, culminated in a super over in only the second game of IPL 2020, but an inexplicable decision of not sending out Mayank Agarwal to face the super over became a major talking point after the game.

Mayank single-handedly took Kings XI Punjab to the cusp of a sensational win, gathering pace after a slow start to end up with a 89 off 60 balls, which helped them recover from 55-5 to tie the game at 157-8.

However, for the super over, the Kings XI Punjab management, headed by Anil Kumble, decided to send captain KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran to open the innings against Kagiso Rabada. They eventually managed just two runs, with both Pooran and Rahul losing their wicket, and Glenn Maxwell being unbeaten as the third batsman.

The on-air commentators questioned Kings XI Punjab’s decision to leave Mayank aside. Simon Doull felt that the decision was possibly taken because Mayank was tired, having opened the batting and faced half of the 120 deliveries. “I can only put this decision down to Mayank Agarwal being tired. Mayank Agarwal, tired, exhausted, has stayed in the dressing room.”

Fellow commentator Kevin Pietersen, however, wasn’t impressed. “Magnificent bowling from a magnificent cricketer [Kagiso Rabada], but I don’t think it was a magnificent decision for Mayank Agarwal not to bat. There was enough of a break for him to come out and bat for Kings XI. Not sure the decision was right.”

After the game, skipper KL Rahul was all praise for Mayank: “He (Mayank) was unbelievable and to get a game that close was magical. He’s been doing well in Tests and to get the game that close again brings a lot of confidence in the group.”

Incidentally, Rahul’s opening partner for the one-over eliminator was Nicholas Pooran, who has the rather unfortunate distinction of having played out a maiden in a super over against Sunil Narine, during a CPL game in 2014. While a lot has happened since then, the decision to back Pooran, who was dismissed for a duck by Ravichandran Ashwin earlier in the game, over Mayank, the match’s top run-scorer, raised many questions.

Mayank addressed the press conference after the game, and while he did not clarify why he was not sent to open, you could sense his frustration after the inexplicable loss.

“The pitch was such that you had to give yourself time, it was not the easiest wicket to get bat on to the new ball. At the death, we batted extremely well to reach where we did. After that… I don’t know.”

Twitter couldn’t make heads or tails of the decision, criticising Punjab’s management for their decision, while some pointed out that Mayank was completely drained and suffering from cramps after batting for the entirety of the innings.


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