Royal Challengers Bangalore fast bowler Umesh Yadav has made a strong start to IPL 2018. He picked up 2-27 in a losing cause at the Eden Gardens against Kolkata Knight Riders but tasted success with a burst of 3-23 against Kings XI Punjab at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
His spell against Punjab saw Umesh dismiss Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh in one over to reduce Punjab to 36-3.
It has been a remarkable turnaround for the fast bowler who was known to leak runs in limited overs matches and revealed the reason behind his new-found success is correct guidance from Bangalore bowling coach Ashish Nehra who asked him to bowl stump to stump to go with his high pace.
“As a fast bowler, when a bowling coach shows confidence in you, then your confidence increases,” Yadav said.
“Ashu bhai told me, ‘You have pace, try to bowl at the stumps, it will be better for you. You are a 140-plus (kph) bowler. If someone hits you straight for six, it’s fine by me’. Since our camp started, that is what we have worked on. He keeps telling me to bowl on the stumps, bowl stump-to-stump, outside off. ‘That’s your area. If you bowl there, we’ll get wickets.’ So I’m following that same plan.”
Yadav will have to be on top of his game again on Sunday as Bangalore host Rajasthan Royals. Both teams have one win and and one defeat apiece.
Chasing Kolkata’s modest total of 138-8, Sunrisers’ win was set up by a composed knock of 50 from captain Kane Williamson.
Earlier Hyderabad seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 3-26 while fellow quick Billy Stanlake took 2-21 as Kolkata struggled to cross the 130-run mark.
LYNN GETS GOING
Kolkata opener Chris Lynn was off the boil in the first two games. But he was bound to find the middle of the bat at some point. That happened on Saturday as he hit seven boundaries and a six during a 34-ball 49. The surface at the Eden Gardens was two-paced with encouragement for pace and spin. The next best was captain Dinesh Karthik’s 29 off 27. Without Lynn, the score would have been a lot closer to 100 than 150.
What a good buy big Billy Stanlake has been for @SunRisers. Pace and bounce, even in T20, is invaluable— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 14, 2018
HYDERABAD KNUCKLE DOWN
Hyderabad seamers Bhuvneshwar (3-26) and Siddarth Kaul (1-37) used the knuckle ball generously towards the death overs, given the sluggish nature of the wicket. Bhuvneshwar got the scalps of Shubman Gill (3) and captain Dinesh Karthik (29) while Kaul accounted for tail-ender Shivam Mavi (7) with their variation of the knuckle ball.
Their wickets came in handy on a day when leg-spinner Rashid Khan didn’t get any – 0-31.
KANE LEADS THE CHARGE
With most batsmen struggling for timing, Hyderabad captain Williamson relied on singles and twos to accumulate his runs. The Kiwi hit four boundaries and a six during his 44-ball 50. Compare that to opener Wriddhiman Saha who hit five boundaries during his innings of 24.
Williamson got out with 20 runs needed to win but Yusuf Pathan (17 off seven) ensured there were no hiccups as Sunrisers registered their first ever win at the Eden Gardens.
Kings XI are being led by spinner Ravi Ashwin, who had earlier expressed his disappointment at not being signed up by his city’s franchise.
Chennai enter the match high on confidence, having won their opening encounter by one wicket against Mumbai Indians followed by victory over Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets chasing 203.
Injuries are piling up for Chennai Super Kings. Suresh Raina (calf injury) and Kedar Jadhav (hamstring) have been benched and that has put their middle order under pressure. Sam Billings was the star during their chase of 203 against Kolkata but dwindling batting resources will start to take its toll.
Punjab will be relying on their spin twins – Ashwin and Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman – to keep the Chennai batsmen quiet. In the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab started off with three spinners and they might be inclined to continue with that strategy in the absence of out-and-out pace bowlers.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
Punjab opener KL Rahul has been in particularly aggressive mode in this year’s IPL. His opening two knocks – 51 off 16 and 47 off 30 – show that he wants to prove to the Indian team management that he deserves to bat up the order in limited-overs cricket.
Chennai captain MS Dhoni struggled in the high-scoring match against Kolkata. The skipper crawled to 25 from 28 balls while everyone else batted at well over a run a ball. If he fails again and Chennai lose, questions will be raised about his batting.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir