IPL 2020: Why Do Teams Continue Opting to Ball First Despite Losing?

12 games have been played so far in the IPL and 11 times the team that won the toss has chosen to bowl first deciding to chase the total rather than set one. Of these 11 games, the chasing team have lost 9 times. So why do the captains still choose bowling over setting up a target?

Pacing a chase is easier

T20 is a very different game altogether from that of test and ODI. While the pacing is an integral part of every format, there is ample time to readjust if something goes wrong in ODI and a test match. In T20 however, there is no time to adjust if wickets are lost at difficult times. Due to this reason, teams choose to chase since they have a clear pacing strategy at hand when batting second.

Pitch doesn’t deteriorate as much as in ODIs

IPL is a very short format compared to ODIs. In the time when a team bats first, there is no deterioration to the pitch. It remains fairly the same in the second innings. This helps the chasing team realise the character of the pitch and adjust their betting strategy accordingly.

The Dew Factor

Temperatures in UAE rise to more than 40 degrees Celcius in Sept-Oct. The players could be seen sweating like pigs while playing the matches. As temperatures decline dew becomes more pronounced. Infield players could be seen with towels stuck at their back for drying out the ball. Bowlers spend more time wiping the ball than doing actual bowling in the second innings. RCB have already been fined for a slow over-rate because of it. A rise in the number of wides and no balls in the second innings is the indication of the difficulty that bowlers face due to dew.

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Uncertainty of a par score.

As players like Tewatia, Pollard, Kishan and many others have shown in recent times that there is no total good enough to be safe. The match between RR and KXIP saw the highest total being chased down thanks to a Tewatia masterclass. Teams have no idea what a good unchaseable total would be in the first inning. Teams in the IPL are afraid that a player of Pollard’s ilk would come and chase the total that they thought would be sufficient. This is why they choose to bat second.

These are the four reasons why teams choose to bowl after winning the toss despite losing the games and would continue doing so in the future as well.