Dubai: Leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal will once again be in the limelight as the Royal Challengers Bangalore face Rajasthan Royals in the early match of the Indian Premier League to be played in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
RCB have always tried to be more reliant with their batting when it comes to the IPL. But the Bangalore side have now got a boost from the experienced Chahal, who has described his form on the slower UAE wickets as nothing short of “heavenly”.
Owing to their reliance on a strong line-up that includes skipper Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Aaron Finch and Devdutt Padikkal. But, a spinner like Chahal has shown the way that matches can also be won by bowlers as witnessed in their last win against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Chahal has taken five wickets in three games so far with his three wickets at the cost of 18 runs in RCB’s opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad setting up a comfortable 10-run win.
The Indian spinner, who has also represented the country in chess at youth levels, has found an able ally in Australian Adam Zampa as the two have started a partnership of sorts for Kohli’s RCB.
“We are always talking, not only in the nets. I have been observing his bowling style ever since he came into the Australian team. Anyway, I was trying to bowl quicker googlies this IPL along with the slower ones. That gives less chance to the batsman to hit me,” Chahal said on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Chahal also admitted that having two great batsmen — Kohli and de Villiers — has helped him perfect his art. The South African has advised Chahal to use his googly sparingly.
“If you are bowling leg spin from the fourth or fifth stump, from there you can bowl googly and the batsman thinks the leg spin is coming so he has to read from my hand only. If they are not reading there will be problems for sure,” he said.
“Being able to bowl to Virat and AB also helps. They give me feedback about the right line and length. He [De Villiers] has told me to bowl googlies depending on the situation.
“It is heavenly playing here. We play only three matches in Sharjah which is also a small ground. And with the long side boundaries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you can flight a little bit more.”
The Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, stuttered in their third mach after two fine high-scoring wins.
The Royals started off well with a 16-run win against former three-time champions Chennai Super Kings in their opener. Batting first, the Royals got their batting line-up coming up with the runs to reach 216-7 in their allotted 20 overs. CSK managed to reach 200-6 in 20 overs with Sanju Samson and Steve Smith scoring valuable half-centuries.
They continued the momentum in their second match against the Kings XI Punjab as they won by four wickets with three balls to spare. The KXIP must have thought their high total of 223-2 would be enough to defend as Mayank Agarwal struck a splendid 106 off just 50 deliveries and skipper KL Rahul propped the side with 69 runs.
But the Royals responded well to the challenge with Sanju Samson once again the pick with a lusty 85 runs from 42 balls, while skipper Steve Smith and Rahul Tewatia weighed in with half centuries to chase down the target with three deliveries to spare.
However, the Royals could not sustain the pressure against the Kolkata Knight Riders on September 30 as they struggled to reach 137 for 9 in 20 overs while chasing 175 for a win.