Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that Steve Smith‘s decision to give the 19th over of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) bowling effort to Jaydev Unadkat was beyond comprehension.

He made this observation while reviewing RR’s heartbreaking IPL 2020 defeat against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in a video shared on his YouTube channel.

Aakash Chopra started by mentioning that Steve Smith would have a tricky question to answer about why he gave the penultimate over of the RR bowling innings to Jaydev Unadkat despite Jofra Archer having an over left.

“Steve Smith will have to answer why Unadkat bowled the 19th over instead of Archer.”

Talking about the match, the reputed commentator pointed out that RR made drastic changes in their batting order. The captain and Jos Buttler plied their trade in the middle order, while Robin Uthappa got a chance to open with Ben Stokes.

“Rajasthan Royals won the toss and batted first and overhauled their entire batting order. They dropped Buttler and Smith down the order but kept Stokes as an opener. They sent Robin Uthappa as an opener and started with so many upheavals.”

Aakash Chopra observed that RR reached a defendable score considering the conditions in Dubai, with the help of excellent knocks from Uthappa and Smith.

“Robin Uthappa played well and Steve Smith also played well and had a good partnership with Buttler. They didn’t put up a huge total but good enough for a win. Because when you go beyond 170 in Dubai, then it means you can win that match because a 160-plus total was chased only once before this match.”

The former KKR player highlighted that AB de Villiers altered the course of the match in the RCB batting effort, with Jaydev Unadkat facing the brunt of the South African’s willow.

“The AB de Villiers storm blew everything away and Unadkat was seen doing Jaydev Jaydev.”


Aakash Chopra on RR giving the penultimate over to Jaydev Unadkat

AB de Villiers launched a brutal attack on RR
AB de Villiers launched a brutal attack on RR’s left-arm pacer in the 19th over [P/C: iplt20.com]

Aakash Chopra pointed out that the penultimate over is the most crucial one when a team is trying to defend a target.

“When you are bowling the 19th over and have a lot of runs to defend in the last two overs, when you bowl first the 20th over is most important but the 19th over is most important while defending, so the best bowler should bowl that over to restrict the opposition and leave a lot of runs for the 20th.”

He observed that RR left the 20th over to be bowled by Jofra Archer, giving AB de Villiers the opportunity to reach full flow in the middle.

“You left the best bowler for the 20th, AB de Villiers had not come too long back and was not fully set with Kartik Tyagi having troubled him a little as well. He had played a couple of good shots but he had not been able to strike that many good shots.”

The 43-year-old iterated that it was beyond his understanding why the penultimate over was given to Jaydev Unadkat when Jofra Archer, who is RR’s premier bowler, had an over in hand. The left-arm pacer was promptly taken to the cleaners.

“You gave the over to Jaydev Unadkat when Jofra’s over was left. That over gave huge number of runs, sixes one after the other and the game was over. It is beyond my understanding why Unadkat bowled that over.”

Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that Steve Smith would be regretting this howler, which was a decision that could cost RR a place in the playoffs.

“Why that happened, they will definitely be looking behind. Steve will also be very sad and sorry about it, that he had made a tactical blunder, a tactical blooper and it may may cost them a place in the final four.”

The Royal Challengers Bangalore required 35 runs off the last two overs when Steve Smith handed the ball to Jaydev Unadkat to bowl the 19th over. AB de Villiers did not let go of this opportunity as he smashed three sixes off the RR left-arm pacer’s first three deliveries to swing the match in RCB’s favour.

With 25 runs taken of Unadkat’s over, RCB managed to score the remaining 10 runs in the last over bowled by Jofra Archer to inflict a gut-wrenching defeat on RR.


Published 18 Oct 2020, 11:31 IST