Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal of Royal Challengers Bangalore bowls against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL 13) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, UAE, on September 21, 2020. Image Credit: Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics for BCCI

Leg spinners have a bit mystery about them. First, they bowl from the back of the hand. Then there’s the wrong ‘un: the one that goes the other. They spin magic and cast a spell. When the Royal Challengers Bangalore desperately needed a dose of magic, Yuzvendra Chahal waved his wand. In the space of two deliveries, Sunrisers Hyderabad were hurtling down a black hole. That’s magic.

Chahal’s fourth over was the gamechanger at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Monday. The over that turned a certain defeat into victory for Bangalore.

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Hyderabad were cruising at 121 for two, when RCB skipper Virat Kohli threw in his trump card, Chahal. Jonny Bairstow was crunching everything in sight, and he’s not one to shy away from a challenge. Conventional wisdom called for seeing off Chahal’s over, because he’s the dangerman. A magician. A bowler who can change the course of a match. But Bairstow plays by his rules.

Chahal tossed up the second delivery on the leg stump, and Bairstow eyes lit up as he heaved only to miss the ball completely. Kohli leapt up and let out a whoop of delight. That was the reaction of a captain whose gamble paid off. Next up was Vijay Shankar, who found a googly beat his defensive prod. Two wickets in balls and the match turned on its head.

“Virat bhaiyya told to bowl attacking deliveries, that why I flighted. When Vijay came Virat bhaiyya and AB [de Villiers] sir told me to just bowl a googly.” And it worked. It worked well. That was the bit of magic RCB was looking for, and they never looked back.

At the post-match interview, Kohli said: “Not many other spinners got too much out of the pitch, but tonight he showed that if you have skill in the wrist, you can purchase on any track. That’s why he bowls well in Bangalore too. The dew was a big factor tonight, the pitch was decent to bat on in the second half I thought – much better than the first half. But the way he came in, backed his skill and got the ball to turn and bowled attacking lines. He was the one who changed the game, in my opinion.”

He sure did change the game. Chahal is a proven matchwinner. He’s done that for India as well.

For RCB, the first win may have been a struggle. But they would take it given their record of poor starts in the past. There were some positives as well. Devdutt Padikkal’s aggression upfront, Shivam Dube’s cool head and Navdeep Saini fiery pace.

In fact, Saini consistently clocked over 140 kmph and cleaned up the Hyderabad innings with two wickets in an over. RCB will take heart from his performance as well. For, they tend to give away too many runs at the death. And Dale Steyn too leaks runs in slog overs. So Saini’s show was impressive, and he could solve the death bowling issues for RCB.