A five-for figure in T20 cricket is much akin to scoring a double century in cricket. On second thought: perhaps not 200, but it definitely equals 150 with the bat. For the blink and miss format throws in its lot with batsmen.
And Harshal Patel will want to prove his brilliant 5/27 against Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener on Friday was no fluke when his Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Sunrisers Hyderabad today, as they seek to consolidate their position in the standings.
With the eight teams divided into two groups the two face-off in their second match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Till date the 31-year-old’s overall wicket tally in the IPL stands at 51, with his previous best being the 17 he scalped in 15 matches for RCB during the 2015 season. Patel felt he needed the change after it went downhill due to limited playing opportunities at Delhi Capitals. And the trade back to RCB seems to have worked wonders for the Gujarat-born Patel, who has hit the ground running and became the first player to take five-for against MI.
Patel said he developed anxiety because of the pressure to perform whilst with the Capitals and that proved severely restrictive.
“I was not really involved in the trade to RCB,” Patel said via videoconference yesterday.
“It’s a welcome decision from my side because I knew with Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje in the Delhi, I would not get the opportunities I am getting here.
Patel continued: “I have had massive performance anxiety in the past IPL seasons for this particular reason, you know you are going to get dropped if you have one bad game.
“It is again a very mental thing, you have to figure out how you get out of that mindset. There is no one solution to this problem, each and every individual has to figure out how to get out of this mindset.
“It is great to be in a team where I can showcase my skills and where I have the privilege of being put in difficult situations (like the final over against MI).”
Three of his five victims - Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Marco Janses - Patel claimed in the last over of the MI innings. It was a severely restrictive over from an MI standpoint with just one run scored as MI’s score moved from 158/5 to 159/9. Patel might have felt an analogy develop if he were to compare his time at Delhi to the anguish felt by MI in that final over.
But he had a job to do and he made RCB skipper Virat Kohli proud. “I wanted to become a bowler or a player who takes on responsibility and the captain is confident enough to put me in those important situations; I look at it as a privilege,” Patel said.
“It is something I have looked forward to for a very long time and I am very happy that I am being put in those situations now.
“Most of the teams have started looking at what the bowler is doing in training and practice games. I think it is a good trend that people are starting to realise that even the uncapped players are good enough to take the responsibility of bowling at the death. I think we will see more of that going forward.”
Needless to say as much or more will be expected from Patel when walks to his mark against SRH who went down by 10 in their opening game with Kolkata Knight Riders. David Warner’s SRH are looking to register their first win of the campaign and have a better win-loss record of 10-7 against RCB, having twice beaten them last season, including once in the play-offs as SRH finished third with RCB taking fourth.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and RCB are likely to stick with the same XI that started the MI match, while the SRH thinktank could tinker a bit, giving Khaleel Ahmed a start in place of Sandeep Sharma who leaked 35 in his three overs.
Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell are a potent triumvirate that lead the RCB batting and should get stronger as the tournament progresses. For SRH, opening pair Wriddhiman Saha and David Warner will be looking to get big knocks after dismal starts, while the dependable Manish Pandey and Jonny Bairstow’s fifties added solidity to their middle order against KKR.