Until two weeks ago, 21-year-old Umran Malik was one among the many behind-the-scenes men of the IPL.
He was among the scores of young domestic talents who have been roped in by the Sunrisers Hyderabad as net bowlers. The Jammu and Kashmir pacer was called up as a ‘short-term Covid replacement’ for T Natarajan. But given his performance in his brief stint so far, he may well be in for the long haul in the IPL.
Against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday night, the youngster mixed pace, which hovered around an average of 150kmph, with length. If he didn’t make the batsmen dance to his tune, he surely got them hopping for cover. All this combined with the guile and experience of Bhuvneshwar Kumar ensured a last-ball thriller in which SRH took the honours with a four-run victory, courtesy the brilliance of the seasoned pacer. Both the bowlers finished with identical 1/25.
Chasing Hyderabad’s 141/7, RCB finished at 137/6 as Bhuvneshwar trumped AB de Villiers’ efforts. Needing 13 runs off the last over, RCB managed a mere eight runs. The loss ended RCB’s dream of making it to the top-two going into the qualifiers.
RCB got off to an ominous start as skipper Virat Kohli was beaten by a fullish delivery from Bhuvneshwar in the first over.
The Bengaluru-based franchise’s experiment with the batting order continued with limited success as Dan Christian and S Bharat didn’t stay long at the crease.
RCB’s flavour and run machine of the season, Glenn Maxwell (40; 25b, 3×4, 2×6) steadied the ship with a 54-run stand with Devdutt Padikkal (41, 52b, 4×4). While Padikkal held up one end, the Australian went for his shorts. The duo could have finished off the match between them, but Maxwell exited following a non-existent run call from Padikkal, which saw Maxwell fall wellshort of the crease as Kane Williamson’ direct hit found the stumps.