Staying true to his word, Ravichandran Ashwin brought out the newest variation in his arsenal in Kings XI Punjab’s IPL opener against the Delhi Daredevils.
The Kings XI skipper had talked about adding leg-spin to his bowling ahead of the IPL.
The India off-spinner has seen himself and Ravindra Jadeja replaced by wrist-spinners in the team’s limited-overs setup with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal establishing themselves as the preferred options.
With wrist-spinners currently the flavor in international cricket, Ashwin had indicated that he would be trying out some leg-spin in the IPL as he seeks to keep himself on top of the international game.
While bowled off-spin in the opening over for his side on Sunday, Ashwin chose to keep his leg-spinner a secret until his second of the day.
— Nachiket Acharya (@nachiket2613) April 8, 2018
Bowling outside the power-play in his second over, Ashwin bowled leg-spin that was reminiscent of Anil Kumble at his peak. The off-spinner beat Daredevils batsman Vijay Shankar all ends up with sharp turn and bounce.
He attempted that delivery three times in the over although one slid down the leg side for a wide.
The 31-year-old did not go overboard with his newest variation, using them sparingly but effectively as he ended up with excellent figures of 1-23 from his four overs to help restrict the Daredevils to 166-7 in their 20 overs.
Kings XI Punjab opener KL Rahul smashed the fastest fifty in IPL history during his team’s opening campaign of the tournament against Delhi Daredevils.
Chasing 167 in Mohali, Rahul waited for three balls before launching into the Daredevils attack. He first took on seamer Trent Boult, hitting him for a six and then two boundaries. In the next over against Mohammed Shami, Rahul hit a six and a boundary before taking leg-spinner Amit Mishra, going four, six, six, four and four to reach his fifty.
Hit shots against Mishra were particularly special as the leg-spinner is the second highest wicket taker in IPL history. Rahul first six off Mishra was a slap off the back foot over long off followed by a sweep which he executed despite slipping awkwardly.
Rahul broke the record set by Yusuf Pathan who hit a 15-ball fifty in 2014. He was finally dismissed for 51 of 16 balls with six boundaries and four sixes.
Afghanistan teenager Mujeeb Ur Rahman became the youngest ever debutant in the Indian Premier League after being picked in the playing eleven of the Kings XI Punjab side for their campaign opener against Delhi Daredevils at Mohali on Sunday.
The 17-year-old justified his hype with returns of 2-28 from his four overs as the Daredevils were restricted to 166-7 off their 20 overs after being put in to bat first.
Here, we take a closer look at the young spinner’s superb debut.
OVERS BOWLED: 4
RUNS CONCEDED: 28
The Afghanistan spin prodigy made a grand debut by dismissing Daredevils opener Colin Munro with just his third delivery. His much touted variations were on full display as the batsmen found it tough to attack the teenager. He hardly gave anything away, ending up with another crucial wicket of Rishabh Pant.
Plenty. The mystery spinner used all the variations using the traditional off-spin, leg-spin, googlies and more to keep the batsmen guessing. He was asked to bowl two overs in the power-play, and he did it admirable, conceding only 11 runs in those. He also showed his excellence in the field, running out the well set Gautam Gambhir with a direct-hit.
Not much. Displayed maturity well beyond his years. Unfazed by the challenge of bowling to some of the biggest hitters in the world, Mujeeb held his nerves even when he was put under pressure. The dismissal of Rishabh Pant off a googly after being hit for a boundary showed the mental strength the youngster possesses.
It does not get any better than this for any debutant let alone a spinner who is only 17. When your skipper trusts you to bowl in the power-play and in the death on your maiden IPL outing, you know you are special. Mujeeb’s purchase is already looking like a winner for the Punjab franchise and he could end up as a superstar by the time the IPL ends.