Punjab versus Bangalore may not have been that easy a contest had De Villiers not stepped in. So even as AB delivered a fiery package, here’s what transpired when his side, led by Kohli took to the field first. For Punjab fans, Mohali was being missed for at Bangalore, Chinnaswamy had instantly and very nearly in the early hours of the contest turned into a possible RCB fortress.
Meet the new and improved Umesh Yadav
With the scorecard pointing at a not so vaunting 32-2 in nearly 4, a familiar sight emerged. Yuvraj Singh looked set in for what could’ve been his first breakthrough knock in IPL’s fresh new season. With Agarwal and Finch back in the dugout having not added tremendously to the scorecard, Yuvi could’ve been Punjab’s day saver. Both fans and critics have known being weary is not him. Even as he may appear slightly lackadaisical, it may not always be the case for his elegance and fluidity at the crease wipes away unsavoury assumptions. But he was against a bloke who was sporting fiery weather on his sleeves.
The bat hurling in a wavering movement, Singh’s eyes are focused on the next ball having just creamed a brilliant boundary toward the legs. In comes, Umesh Yadav, a bowler you didn’t see in the series agains the Proteas. A bowler you last saw in a competitive ODI outing for India nearly an year ago and someone whose past IPL outings came 365 days back.
And just then, right in the heat of the moment, perhaps when you least expected, Yuvraj’s flowing blade; fresh like a cop’s cane; fails to read the line of an incoming scorcher that uproots the middle stump. Chinnaswamy is alive and once again on its feet.
The man sporting rather uncharacteristically a pony has begun horsewhipping Bangalore’s rivals that night. Umesh Yadav- a exulting pace force that often makes headlines for bulging economy rates- finishes the match with 23-4 from 4. He hasn’t even gone for 6 an over.
This is a T20, you ought to remember and Yadav is pillaging Punjab’s top order
That, in essence, captures the spirit of a cricketer who’s so often been undermined but perhaps by his own meanderings with inconsistency. Although, ever since he’s begun shining the white ball under lights in IPL 2018- it seems- he’s a different, more sorted long distance runner. From 2 games, he’s collected 5 wickets. In none of the games, has his economy soared to 7 an over and he’s kept runs at under 6.5 an over- signifying the most important clearance of a hurdle for a T20 bowler. Above all, bowling against mighty big hitting sides in KKR and Punjab.
A bowler hard to ignore but often handing easy runs
The predicament surrounding Umesh Yadav’s form often outdoes his own maverick talent. Flat decks or turning tracks- we haven’t always had the best from Umesh
Yadav. He’s been fit and dandy as if a burly athlete emerging from a wrestling arena but you just don’t know where the line of the ball, delivered with pace would land him, do you?
So even as much to the chagrin of his critics who forget that often quicker than their discarding of him is his ability to sneak in with wickets, here’s a stat they may find hard to ignore.
No other bowler in IPL history has scuttled as many 3-for’s against one team as Umesh Yadav
On 6 separate occasions, Yadav has plucked 3-for’s against King’s Eleven Punjab. Therefore, his performance on April 13 was both somewhere on the lines of expectancy and a further indication of his prudence against a somewhat unsettled line up. You’d have to contend with the fact that Finch and Agarwal haven’t been as boisterous as KL who amazingly got going on the same surface that proved palpable for his team’s opponents.
Yet, it is also true that as Umesh Yadav ushers in toward the popping crease, you can expect that some serious pace is on the cards. But what at times spruces up, is a blazing one way outside off or marginally wearing down the legs.
For nearly a decade we’ve known Umesh Yadav in being an out-and-out pacer. But we’ve also known him as being nowhere close to manifesting his true potential. But the new improved Yadav, one who seems to oriented his accuracy well enough to aid a tremendous improvement in economy, could he be making the right noises this season?
Given that before his induction, Bangalore didn’t have a strike fast bowler in their ranks, the signs are ominous.