When did you last see an Indian fast bowler consistently bowling the hard ball like a thunderbolt, ball after ball at a speed of 145kph? When did you see someone so young hitting the bullseye with so much accuracy and picking up five wickets in a game?
Yes, we all saw yesterday 21-year-old tearaway fast bowler Umran Malik knocking off five Gujarat Titans batters with missiles in the form of a cricket ball. We all knew he is a special talent but this young boy showed why coach Dale Steyn says he is the bowler to watch.
He was seen in the later part of IPL last year where Kane Williamson knew he is extra special and ensured he was retained by the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise. And how well he has paid off for the owners, the captain, the coach by bowling one of the finest spells of fast bowling in an IPL game.
Gujarat who were chasing 195 were off to a rollicking start thanks to Wriddiman Saha and Shubman Gill and were 60 in six overs when Malik first castled Gill with a thunderbolt yorker. His first ball to Hardik Pandya was 145kph which hit the Gujarat skipper on the shoulder. The third ball which was 152kph might have gone for a four but he came in his second over with a bouncer and Pandya was caught by third man. Malik was not done yet. His captain called him back for his second spell as Gujarat were running away with the chase 121/2 in 13 overs. And he did not disappoint his captain. He knocked off the dangerous Saha with a heat seeking missile at 152kph which hit the base of the middle stump before the veteran keeper could bring his bat down.
Williamson wanted to go for the kill as he knew how dangerous David Miller can be and he gave Malik the fourth over. And the speedster hit the bullseye again by knocking off the middle stump at 148kph. He had got four wickets for his team but he wanted to have a fifth and he got that with a peach with his last ball to get Abhinav Manohar who was playing for survival but it was not to be. Malik had picked five wickets for 25 runs and got his team very much in the game with Gujarat requiring another 56 in the last four overs.
Man of the Match
That his team were still beaten was due to the brilliance of Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan as they pulled off a heist by scoring 25 runs in the last over off poor Marco Jansen. But that can’t take away anything from Man of the Match Malik who was just unplayable at such high speed.
Not many things can match the joy of watching sheer pace on a belter of a batting wicket at the Wankhede Stadium. This young boy Malik has been sending shivers down the spine of every batsman and has now become the joint second highest wicket taker with 15 wickets at an average of 16 with an economy of just below 8. A placard held by one of the spectator read “I have come to see Umran Malik bowl. Watch out batters, Deccan Express has arrived.”