IPL 2018: Analysis of Afghanistan teenager Mujeeb ur Rahman's performance in Kings XI Punjab's loss

Ashish Peter 13/04/2018
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The Afghan youngster was mighty impressive once again.

Kings XI Punjab tasted their first defeat of the IPL 2018 campaign as they suffered a four-wicket loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s men ran the hosts close despite having a modest total of 155 to defend as the home side clinched victory with three balls to spare.

17-year-old Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman put in another impressive display as he finished with figures of 1/29.

Here, we take a closer look at the youngster’s spell.

STATISTICS

OVERS: 4

WICKETS: 1

RUNS CONCEDED: 29

ECONOMY-RATE: 7.25

30-SECOND REPORT

With Kings XI defending a modest total, the Afghan teenager was brought on to bowl in the power-play and he delivered in confident style after conceding only three runs in his opening two overs while picking up the wicket of Virat Kohli. The wealth of subtle variations at his disposal made Mujeeb almost impossible to get away as batsmen found it hard to read his wrong-one. It was only in his final over that he was inflicted some punishment by AB de Villiers.

GOT RIGHT

With his confidence already bolstered after a stupendous debut, the spinner’s first task on Friday was to put a brake on the scoring rate and he performed it admirably, showing no signs of nerves while bowling to some of the world’s best batsmen in Kohli and AB de Villiers. Not one to overdo his googly, Mujeeb used it sparingly but to lethal effect at the Chinnaswamy stadium.

GOT WRONG

Quite simply, nothing. Mujeeb’s mastery of the art of spin still remains a novelty in the IPL with the teenager coming in as a surprise package. That even the likes of Kohli were struggling to read his googly speaks volumes about the impact the Afghan youngster has had. His only gripe will be with his final over where he conceded two sixes and a boundary but you can’t really blame the young man given it was De Villliers doing the tonking. Went for 19 in that over to spoil his otherwise excellent figures.

KEY MOMENTS

QUITE FIRST OVER

Bowing the third over in the power play, Mujeeb conceded just two runs while having Quinton de Kock and Kohli as the batsmen to contend with. That tight over helped Punjab build the run-rate pressure on the home side.

KOHLI’S SCALP

If Mujeeb’s first over was good, his second was a showstopper. After bowling two dot-balls to Kohli, the youngster showed his class with a ripping googly that had the RCB skipper completely flummoxed. Pitching in on off stump, it spun in sharply to dislodge Kohli’s stumps with the batsman playing for the conventional spin. To get arguably the world’s best limited-overs batsman dismissed in that fashion as a 17-year-old is worthy of special praise.

VERDICT – 7/10

For the second match in a row, the Afghan spin prodigy has had everyone sit up and notice his outrageous talents. His team might have ended up on the losing side but Mujeeb’s meteoric rise continues. The final over takes some sheen off an impressive performance but he will have a big role to play in Kings XI’s campaign this season judging by the faith bestowed on him by skipper Ravichandran Ashwin.

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IPL 2018: AB de Villiers shows his class and other talking points as Royal Challengers Bangalore open their account

Ashish Peter 13/04/2018
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De Villiers' excellent fifty won it for the hosts.

Royal Challengers Bangalore got their first points on the board in the IPL as they beat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Friday.

Virat Kohli’s men did well to bowl out Kings XI for 155 runs before getting over the finish line in the chase during the final over. With this win, the Royal Challengers have started in perfect fashion on their home turf after a dismal last season where they won just one out of seven in Bangalore.

Here, we look at the key talking points from Royal Challenger’s first win.

YADAV’S ELECTRIC SPELL BREAKS KINGS XI’S BACK

Kings XI opener KL Rahul picked up exactly from where he left off in his record fastest fifty against the Delhi Daredevils as he smashed Chris Woakes for two sixes in the very first over. Soon the visitors raced away to 32/0 in three overs before Umesh Yadav turned up with an over for the ages.

Charging in at full pace, the Indian bowler dismissed Mayank Agarwal after the right-hander was caught behind while attempting a flashy cover drive. Aaron Finch, who had only recently joined up with the Kings XI squad from Australia, lasted only one ball after being struck on the pads by Yadav.

A hat-trick was prevented by Yuvraj Singh but the veteran had no answer to Yadav’s ripping in-swinging delivery that sent the middle-stump for a walk. Within the space of six balls, Kings XI’s top-order was back in the pavilion with RCB in total command.

RAHUL FALLS SHORT OF CONSECUTIVE FIFTIES

Back on the ground of his former employers, Rahul’s splendid start on Friday might have had Royal Challengers wondering if they had missed a trick by not picking up the opening batsman for the 2018 edition.

After his two sweetly timed sixes off Woakes in the first over, Rahul continued to play his free-flowing strokes despite Yadav wreaking havoc at the other end. He would smash two more sixes as he quickly raced away to 47 off just 29 deliveries. Looking good for another half-century after his 14-ball blitzkrieg against the Delhi Daredevils, Rahul’s innings was cut short by young Washington Sundar.

Attempting a slog sweep against the off-spinner, Rahul could only manage a top-edge which was gobbled up easily by Sarfaraz Khan at short third-man.

DE VILLIERS SHOWS HIS CLASS TO WIN IT FOR THE HOSTS

Despite having a modest total to chase on what looked like a good track, the hosts had lost their way by the half-way mark of their innings. At 87/4, the visitors would have sniffed a chance of a sneaky victory but those hopes were quelled as soon as AB de Villiers found his range.

Starting circumspectly, the South African ace saved his best for the death overs with the asking-rate climbing to above 10 per over as he smashed Mujeeb ur Rahman for consecutive sixes in the 17th over.

The right-handed batsman swatted Mohit Sharma for another massive six in the next over to bring up a fine half-century off just 36 balls. By the time he departed in the penultimate over for 57, De Villiers had already ensured victory for the Royal Challengers. It was an innings of pure class from the stalwart and it came when they needed it the most.

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IPL 2018: Umesh Yadav takes three wickets in an over to halt Kings XI's charge at Bangalore

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Yadav's fiery spell brought RCB roaring back into the game.

Royal Challengers Pacer Umesh Yadav turned the IPL clash against Kings XI Pinjab on its head with a dream over in which he ended up with three wickets.

Batting first, Kings XI Punjab openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal gave the visitors the perfect start at Bengaluru as they raced away to 32-0 within three overs.

Yadav himself had an expensive opening over where he went for nine runs. But what would happen in his next over might well be the pivotal moment of the match.

With the very first delivery, Yadav had Agarwal caught behind excellently by a diving Quinton de Kock to give Royal Challengers their breakthrough. Up next for the visitors was Australia’s Aaron Finch, a man who has been enjoying a purple patch with the bat for some time now.

The Aussie was greeted with a first-ball dismissal in his very first match of IPL 2018 after Yadav wrapped him on the pads. Finch’s hopeful review of the decision would prove futile as the replays confirmed what was apparent to the naked guy.

With two in two, Yadav had Yuvraj Singh to contend with for the hat-trick ball but the veteran batsman was untroubled as he hit a crisp drive towards cover. After another dot-ball followed, the Indian pacer had Yuvraj in trouble with his fifth delivery. The Kings XI batsman’s attempted pull just sailed over the fielder at the boundary for a four.

Yadav however, would have the last laugh as he sent in a ripper of a fuller-delivery that was too quick for Yuvraj’s defence as it shattered the middle-stump.

From 32-0, Yadav over had left Kings XI reeling at 36-3 by the time he was done as Royal Challengers came roaring back into the clash.

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