Chennai Super Kings couldn’t pick Rashid Khan, they couldn’t hit out blindly, and they couldn’t even push him around for singles to rotate the strike.
Rashid Khan was again difficult to manoeuvre, conceding only 17 runs and snaring the wickets of Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav. IPL
Shut down by wily Rashid
Just 17 for 2 from his four overs. Chennai couldn’t pick Rashid Khan, they couldn’t hit out blindly, and they couldn’t even push him around for singles to rotate the strike. Suresh Raina, usually pretty good against spin in the way he manages to throw his hands out even when he doesn’t quite pick them, was kept on a leash by Rashid. A series of googlies that spat past the forward prods. Frustrated and in an attempt to break out, he went for the big slog to the leg side but this time the floating legbreak evaded the wood to trap him lbw.
Kedar Jadhav has the habit of plonking his front foot across and try working the spinners but it’s not a wise ploy when you aren’t reading them. Khan slipped in a googly to get another lbw victim as he struck twice in that 14th over to reduce Chennai to 99 for 4, and they never quite recovered. Ravindra Jadeja had a bad day with the bat (10 from 20 balls) and Rayudu dawdled around for 21-ball 25 without ever able to step the gas.
This is what Rashid does. If the batsmen is even a touch clouded by doubts, he is always going to struggle to pick his googlies and legbreaks. Because often, amazingly, he can bowl even the legbreak from back of hand, usually a tick that is identified with the googly. It’s in little details the differences come through. Bit more upright for his legbreaks and bit closer to the stumps for the googly and sometimes he has his fingers on the seam for the googly as he likes to finger-spin it across. Such was his control that it seemed Chennai’s focus was only to play him off but with runs not coming at other end, the noose kept tightening.
Because of his speed, he isn’t easy to go down the track. Only if he misses the length, and bowls too full, the batsmen can hit him from the crease. Very rarely he drags them short like he did first ball to Shane Watson who swept him to the square-leg boundary. But that was that; no more freebies followed and Rashid shut down Chennai in some style.
The knuckleball specialist
Charl Langeveldt, Zaheer Khan’s guru for the knuckleball, must be gobsmacked at how quickly so many Indian seamers have picked on the art. He took five years to perfect and have the confidence to bowl it at competitive level, Zaheer Khan mastered in an year, Bhuvneshwar Kumar in a couple of series, and then other Indian seamers from Mohit Sharma, Sidharth Kaul did it during a course of a IPL tournament. Sandeep Sharma is currently probably the best user of it.
He bowls a slew of them in an over, and in addition to the (conventional!) knuckle ball that dips and goes straight, he occasionally lowers the arm and gets the knuckleball to go break away like a legbreak. He hides the ball in his run-up with his left-hand rather well and Scott Styris, on air, picked up the fact that he probably holds on to the ball that bit longer before he switches it for the knuckleball, not many batsmen are picking it.
He lowers the arm to bowl the regular seam-up as well which adds to the confusion. He didn’t bowl two overs in a row, kept piping up across the middle overs, giving not many and applying the squeeze on Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja who couldn’t get him away. All in all, he was a perfect foil to Rashid Khan.
Warner blasts away
It was clear that the chase would be determined by the powerplay and game was all but over after David Warner smashed around to get Hyderbad to 58 in just 5 overs. After his exit, Jonny Bairstow stayed unbeaten on 61 to guide his team home without much fuss. Chennai wasn’t good with their lines especially in the way they bowled at Warner.
Warner’s new Achilles heel is the ball on leg and middle as he now more than ever tries to stay side-on, adjacent to the line, and almost pushes to the on side to give himself room. That has meant, as we have seen in the last couple of games, the seamers have started to ping that leg-and-middle stump line to cramp him. There were moments when Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar had him in some trouble but they couldn’t string together a decent amount of deliveries in that zone and Warner lashed out in style. And when Warner was done, Bairstow stepped up.