IPL 2020: Important to put KL Rahul under pressure early, says Shane Bond
The last time he faced Rohit Sharma's team, Rahul slammed an unbeaten 100 off just 64 balls at the Wankhede Stadium.
KL Rahul will remain Mumbai Indians' biggest threat going into today's IPL clash against Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi.
The Kings XI skipper has been on the rampage, scoring 222 runs in just three matches so far (132 v RCB and 69 v RR).
MI's top concern
It is not just Rahul's form that would be MI's top concern. The last time he faced Rohit Sharma's team, Rahul slammed an unbeaten 100 off just 64 balls at the Wankhede Stadium. In KXIP's home encounter v MI, Rahul scored a 57-ball 71 not out. MI's bowling coach Shane Bond said it is important to put pressure on Rahul from Ball One. "He has got runs against us in the last few games. He is a brilliant player, a dynamic batsman, who scores all around the field," Bond said from Abu Dhabi in response to mid-day's question on MI's plans to counter Rahul.
"We also know that he takes his time generally, through the middle overs, so that's perhaps an opportunity to create pressure on him and the batsmen around him. We will have specific ideas about how we can get him out. We can't allow him to score in the areas he is very, very strong. He scores well over extra-cover, picks up over fine-leg," observed Bond.
It is not just Rahul's threat that would bother MI. Kings XI opener Mayank Agarwal is also in red-hot form with 221 runs.
"We have got a quality bowling unit, we just have to put pressure on him [Rahul]. The two key batters [Rahul and Agarwal] for Kings XI Punjab have played brilliantly so far. If we can create some pressure and get those boys out, and put some little bit more pressure on the middle-order early, we can restrict them to a score, stop them from scoring big runs," said Bond.
While the batting has clicked for Punjab, their bowling is a bit of a concern.
They failed to defend 223 against Rajasthan Royals in their last game.
Used to the conditions
Bond is confident MI is well acquainted to the conditions at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium by now after playing two matches. "We are confident with our batting line-up. They have put up good runs on the board so far and we are a tough batting order to stop. We have played on this ground twice and know the conditions, so that should help us," Bond said.
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