Kolkata: Not many of us possibly cares to remember that Deepak Chahar, the hunk from Haryana, boasts of the best-ever figures for a bowler in international T20 cricket. His six wickets for seven runs against Bangladesh in 2019 has always kept him in the radar ever since for the Indian team in this format,
Qualitiatively speaking, Chahar would possibly rank his haul of four for 13 on Friday, which broke the back of a powerful batting line-up of Punjab Kings and set the match up for Chennai Super Kings in IPL in Mumbai a close second. The four scalps on Friday must have given him greater degree of satisfaction as they were Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Dipak Hooda and Nicholas Pooran - in that order.
The delivery that set the tone was of course the fourth one of the day - a dream one for any swing bowler which would do the likes of Mitchell Starc or Trent Boult proud. The line was perfect on the off and middle and as Agarwal, a Indian Test opener, came forward - it swung away just marginally enough after pitching to rattle the off stump. A work of art and no wonder, Chahar called it his dream delivery after winning the Man of the Match later.
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It was a fresh wicket in Mumbai and Chahar, who has the capacity to move the ball bothways, relished it much to his liking. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the astute Chennai skipper who normally gives him a three-over run in the powerplay, gave him four overs on the trot to maximise the damage on the Punjab batsmen - from which they could never really recover.
The impact of Chahar’s spell moved Ravi Shastri, the Indian team’s head coach, so much so that he took to the social media to praise the bowler - a practice which he actually shuns during the IPL. It will, hence, not be presumptious to assume that he has taken a big leap in impressing the team management about his credentials for the T20 World Cup at home later this year.
Chahar, meanwhile, owes a big thanks to his skipper for the faith that Dhoni has shown on his homegrown new ball bowlers over the years. If he had backed the likes of Mohit Sharma before, Dhoni has been handing the new ball to the pair of Chahar and Shardul Thakur recently - quite in contrast to a number of franchises where expensive overseas fast bowlers rule the roost.
While Chennai returned to the winning ways alright, their batting was not really tested on Friday given the nature of the contest. The full points on Friday have, however, pitchforked them to second spot in the table and it would now be interesting to see to if they can keep up the momentum!