IPL 2024 – Kuldeep wrong’uns LSG, Pathirana muzzles MI, Mayank raises hell for RCB

Really fast bowlers make the speed gun seem like what it is meant to be – an accessory, even a gimmick – because they are just numbers on a screen. 155 kph. What does that even mean? Planes go faster than that at takeoff, but sitting inside, it feels quite serene. Shouldn’t we be hurled into the backs of our seats, our faces peeling off like in those old cartoons? Speed is nothing without the accompanying chaos. So next time Mayank Yadav bowls, don’t look at the screen for the numbers, look at the batter. Look at them standing leg side of the ball. Look at them being rushed into the shot. Look at the ball crashing into stumps and flying off to the deep-third boundary without pitching. Look at his 3 for 14 against RCB over and over and over again.
Lucknow Super Giants were 64 for 2 in seven overs, with KL Rahul and Marcus Stoinis at the crease, and ESPNcricinfo’s forecaster suggested they would go on to make 183. Then Kuldeep Yadav did what the very best wristspinners do. In the space of an over he brought the forecasted total down to 171, which contained a pair of dangly, dipping wrong’uns that sent back Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran, the latter bowled between bat and pad for a golden duck. As it happened, LSG only got to 167. Kuldeep’s over had all kinds of far-reaching consequences. Pooran’s departure allowed Axar Patel to bowl alongside Kuldeep and dominate a succession of right-right pairs. It forced LSG to change their Impact Player strategy and bring in an extra batter and weaken their bowling. It all added up as DC ended LSG’s run of 13 straight wins while defending 160-plus totals.
Defending a target on a Mumbai night is among the least favourite things for an away bowler. There is dew, the ball is wet, the pitch loses its grip, the boundaries are small, and the home crowd can be intimidating. On this particular night, MI were cruising, having scored 70 in seven overs without breaking a sweat. Then came on Matheesha Pathirana. In the land of Lasith Malinga. He bowled a 151.2kmph yorker to Suryakumar Yadav first ball, then the wide bouncer with deep third fine for the catch. The two-ball duck for Suryakumar stunned the Mumbai crowd, and then he came back to bowl three out of the last seven overs for the wickets of Tilak Varma and Romario Shepherd. He would have won CSK the match with just his accuracy even if he had not picked up the wickets, but the celebrations with his spooky eyes were a bonus.

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