Monday, 30 April 2012

The Importance of the Penultimate Over

Penultimate over i.e. the second last over and in the case of a T20, the 19th over of an innings has nowadays gained more importance than even the last over of an innings. In the shorter format of the game, games more often than not finish in the last over. But its the penultimate over where the game actually changes. The penultimate over has gained much importance in this year's IPL as 3 games turned on their heads in the penultimate over.

The first one was when Royal Challengers Bangalore were playing the Chennai Super Kings. Chasing a target of 207, the Chennai Super Kings required 43 off the last 2 overs. RCB were almost certain to win it as their skipper Daniel Vettori threw the ball to part timer Virat Kohli. Albie Morkel from CSK took full advantage of the part timer's penultimate over as he smashed Kohli for 28 runs and then got the remaining 15 runs in the last over to seal the match. RCB lost that game in the 19th over more than the 20th.

The second instance came when the Mumbai Indians were playing the Kings XI Punjab. Mumbai Indians were chasing a target of 168 and required 32 runs off the last 2 overs with 4 wickets in hand. Punjab were favorites as the bowling team is expected to save 32 runs from 12 balls in a high pressure situation. Piyush Chawla bowled the penultimate over in which Rayudu and Peterson together plundered 27 runs and ultimately won the match for MI.

And finally the third one was probably the most shocking one. Delhi Daredevils were playing Rajasthan Royals in their backyard. Needing 153 to win, RR were cruising at 138-2 with Rahane batting well on 74. With 15 required off 12 balls with just 8 wickets in hand and one of the in-form batsman playing in his 70's, you can bet your life on that team's victory. But it was not to be as South African speedster Morne Morkel came out to bowl the penultimate over and he produced a gem of an over. He gave just 3 runs in his last over picking up one wicket and left Rajasthan to get 12 off the last over which is always tough for the batting team. And ultimately Rajasthan managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as Delhi pulled off a miraculous win out of nowhere.

We have seen how the penultimate over can change the course of the game completely. Captains of teams who are on top till the 18th over often take the 19th over lightly and then end up giving away all the hard work in that one penultimate over. T20 is a very fast paced game and matches can change in just 5-6 balls. Its important for the players not to leave everything for the last over. Try to finish games in the penultimate over as it is the penultimate over where games are mostly won and lost.

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