Speed is not Bhuvneshwar’s strong point but Swing certainly is. And some smart change of pace makes this bowler one of the best in business today. With 23 wickets against his name in the wickets table which he happens to top, Bhuvneshwar has emerged as the best bowler in the league. T20 cricket is also called the graveyard of the bowlers. Shaun Pollock once said “Each dot ball is gold”. Some may think that bowlers are only used as tools to showcase the might of the batsman, but the consistency with which Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman have taken wickets in the poweplay and end overs has been the key to Sunrisers Hyderabad’s success this season.
Bhuvi has featured in 17 matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad this season which tells us about his fitness levels. An injured Ashish Nehra meant that the responsibility of leading Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling attack rested on Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s shoulders. With 23 wickets in his kitty, an average of 21.30 and an economy rate of 7.4, Bhuvneshwar said that bowling with Nehra had helped him learn several new things about bowling. Bhuvneshwar has not only taken wickets in the Powerplay, but has also managed to stifle batsmen in the slog overs. He has varied his pace very well, while being accurate, to fox the batsmen into playing a false shot. According to him, “bluffing” the batsmen played a crucial role in that. With swing being his potent weapon in the early overs and yorkers towards the end, Bhuvneshwar has also learnt to generate some serious pace to add to his arsenal. He credits his success to a training programme he has been following since the Sri Lanka tour last year.
The success of SRH’S bowlers has certainly redefined their fortunes.The performance put up by Bhuvneshwar has remind us that bowling remains a vital asset even in the shortest form of cricket. The credit of SRH’s win this year certainly goes to its bowlers.
Mustafizur Rahman, too, proved to be instrumental in Sunrisers Hyderabad Title win. He is thin and skinny so his features make one believe that he can’t generate much pace, but this is not the truth. He touched 140 kmph every now and then in this tournament. His line and length during the death overs are always strict and he rarely ever misses his yorker length that can be easily dispatched by the batsman. Like Bhuvi, he doesn’t swing the ball much, but his ability to vary his pace and his accuracy make him a successful bowler and enables him to pick wickets. Most of his wickets during this season of IPL have come because of his well disguised slower delivery and off cutters. Replays which compared his regular delivery and his slower ones have shown absolutely no difference, so he keeps the batsman guessing at all times. In the 16 matches that he has played in, he has picked up 17 wickets at an economy of 6.90. He has proved to be the most economic bowler in this IPL and he bowled a spell in which he bowled a record 9 consecutive dot balls and ended his quota of 4 overs by giving away just 9 runs.
He might only be 20 years old, but is always composed and relaxed and never gets too excited. He doesn’t let the pressure get to him as he continues bowling with maturity even when he is smacked to the fence. An example of this can be found in his first game itself. As his bowling mates were being taken apart by the RCB batsman which included heavyweights such as Kohli, de vellieirs, Watson etc, every SRH bowler conceded more than 9 runs an over in their spells but he rose to the occasion and bowled immaculately on a flat track giving away only 26 runs in the 4 overs that he bowled and sent Shane Watson and AB De Villiers back to the pavillion.
Credit also goes to David Warner who used the deadly duo wisely and rotated them well. They bowled well in tandem for the Hyderabad franchise and also placed themselves as the prime bowler of the tournament, someone on whom David Warner and co. would rest their hopes to do well in every situation.
Both the players performed according to expectations and helped SunRisers clinch the IPL 9 trophy.