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Monday, April 22, 2024

Bleev Me !! ~ Bowlers too hog limelight in IPL 2024

IPL 2024 is becoming bowler’s death-knell with 300 threatening to be breached and teams have crossed 250 with ease !! yet two bowlers have garnered glory in today’s match between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians.


He would sadly remember that 52nd match at Jaipur on 7th May 2023.  Just when Rajasthan Royals thought they had collected two points by defending 214 and had started to celebrate, their last-ball wicket transformed into a no-ball from Sandeep Sharma (called belatedly by the third umpire), and Abdul Samad smoked a straight six off the free hit to get Sunrisers Hyderabad the four more runs they needed, sparking wild celebrations in the orange camp while the players and home fans in pink were left stunned. 

The diminutive Sandeep Sharma has grown the difficult way.  He has been plagued by injuries including a massive shoulder injury, has had to sit out, had indifferent two years, yet has been an unsung hero.   Largely in  T20, a bowler up for the fight is way more important than a bowler with the skill. 

He looks small but bowls well – and one is left wondering  if Sandeep would have played more than just the two T20Is he has for India about a decade ago,  had it not been for the presence of Bhuvneshwar KUmar. Now, there is no place for Bhuvneshwar himself in the India side. Sandeep Sharma – who, a swing bowler, probably a little too slow in the air or too early with the movement? A death bowler celebrating with one finger raised to the sky only to find out he has overstepped and then lose the match on the re-bowled last ball? 

Before you read further, today the celebrity was Yuzvendra Chahal.  He became the first bowler in IPL history  to reach the milestone of 200 wickets. Dwayne Bravo is second on the list of leading wicket-takers in the IPL with 183 scalps.  There are 2 with 200+ wickets in T20 - Danny Briggs (219) and Samit Patel (208) playing  in England's T20 Blast.


Sandeep Sharma  went unsold at auction for an year yet Rajasthan Royals had plans for him and drafted him – in a side where Trent Boult has the new ball 

Recall that back in July 2015 at Harare there were 7 debutants.   In that  1st T20, India beat Zimbabwe  convincingly by 54 runs.   Indian openers Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, followed by Uthappa all made 30s – Mohit Sharma, Harbhajan, Bhuvaneswar Kumar and Axar Patel bowled well.  The score in brief : India 178 for 5 (Uthappa 39*, Mpofu 3-33) beat Zimbabwe 124 for 7 (Axar 3-17) by 54 runs.  There were 7 debutants - :  STR Binny, KM Jadhav, MK Pandey, AR Patel and Sandeep Sharma (India); N Madziva and T Muzarabani (Zimbabwe) – some of them have been playing T20 for long courtesy the muddled IPL. 

Sandeep Sharma, 22,  at that time of his debut had already played 43 matches in the format - many of them for Kings XI Punjab. At International level, Chamu Chibhabha lifted his very first delivery over long-on, holding the pose after his shot. Hamilton Masakadza scooped his fourth delivery for a second six.  There have been 10  bowlers who have conceded a six off their first legitimate delivery in T20Is (at that time) and the list includes Muttiah Muralitharan. The other debutant Neville Madziva found it even tougher conceding 46. 

Today he gave a remarkable exhibition of swing bowling with figures of 4-0-18-5.  His victims of the day are :  Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma,  Tim David & Gerald Coetzee 

With regards – S Sampathkumar

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