Sometimes you wonder if Umesh Yadav is trying to knock down opposition batsmen or stun his own skipper Virat Kohli with the pace and fury of his bowling.
There is little doubt that Yadav was hardly part of Kohli’s Indian team plans in South Africa. Other bowlers were preferred in the playing eleven and being constantly overlooked must have obviously rankled the fiery fast bowler.
What better way to show the skipper how wrong he was with his choice of personnel than bowl with pace like fire, match after IPL match. Yadav did not just forcibly open the eyes of the skipper, but pointedly seemed to say, "Hey skip this is the firepower you had, but chose to ignore in South Africa."
The strong, rustic lad not only bowled his heart out for Royal Challengers Bangalore but also highlighted the fact that he is a wicket-taker, who was eminently capable of blowing away the opposition.
Sure, Yadav has had the odd bad match in this IPL. But by and large he has been an outstanding asset for team.
On Monday night, he rocked King’s XI Punjab to the very core of their batting might with a spine-chilling display of hostile fast bowling. His opening burst proved that at his best, he is as good as any fast bowler in the world.
KXIP’s world class batsmen Chris Gayle and KL Rahul felt the full blast of Yadav’s scorching pace. Gayle, in particular, was all at sea. He would have gone off only the second ball he faced from Yadav, but for wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel dropping a fairly simple chance.
But on the day Yadav was not to be denied. He ran in hard and banged the ball into the deck with all the power behind his right shoulder to make life hell for KXIP.
Yadav pitched the odd ball up to the batsman. But by and large, he bowled into the pitch, got the ball to lift disconcertingly and seam marginally in either direction.
Gayle once got smacked on his left shoulder and on another occasion on his right thigh as he was not sure which way the ball would deviate off the seam. This was a high class display of fast bowling rarely seen on Indian pitches.
By the time he was through with his first spell of three overs, Yadav had not only dismissed openers Rahul and Gayle cheaply, but had left a telling impression on those in the dugout. Rahul and Gayle had been KXIP’s most consistent batsmen, scoring 50 percent of all the team’s runs this year. So their importance to the fortunes of the team need hardly be stated. Yadav, by removing both in his opening burst, simply knocked the stuffing out of the team.
After that it was all downhill, though mention must be made of the manner in which leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal foxed Marcus Stoinis. The Aussie batsman, brought up on a diet of fast bowling, was at the start of his innings confronted by a delivery that was tossed above his eye-line – not something he would have confronted too often in his career. He lost sight of the ball momentarily as it dipped, yorked and bowled him.
By the start of the second half on their innings, it became apparent that panic was KXIP’s middle name. Three of their last four batsmen ran like headless chicken to be caught short of the crease. A pathetic total of 88 told its tale of RCB overwhelming dominance.
In fact this was the first time that RCB had bowled and fielded with professional cohesion this season and it came as no surprise that they had cleaned up KXIP so convincingly.
Chasing the modest target, Kohli, who opened the batting with Parthiv, had just one thing on his mind: Boost the team’s net run rate. This could be critical if RCB had to have any chance of advancing to the next stage.
With the scenario thus laid out, Kohli and the aggressive Parthiv set about like men possessed. They took just a couple of overs to gauge the pace of the pitch. After that they plundered runs at will to accomplish the day’s mission: two points and a positive net run rate!