Here we go again, the Super Over!
Four times (two of them in international cricket vs. NZ) in his T20 career, Jasprit Bumrah has defended lower totals (once even 6 runs and once 8 runs) in the Super Over but this was the first time he failed to do so against a team which is notorious to crumble under pressure.
This time the Royal Challengers Bangalore not only had two of the world’s best players but the all-time legends of cricket coming out to bat in the deciding moment of the game. “It was a good match-up against Jasprit. Top quality cricket and games like these, people would love to watch,” Kohli said after the match.
Kohli may not have looked in virat touch this season so far but the confidence of the man is unrivalled. Only a super confident captain would back himself to hit a last ball four when he hadn’t hit one in his previous 30 balls this season.
“I don't have words right now. It was such a roller-coaster game. I think they played really well and patiently in the middle. It went down to the wire; we tried to execute the things we wanted to. We've got a close victory,” said a much relieved captain Kohli.
Appropriately, AB de Villiers was there too with Kohli to play his ‘little part’ in the Super Over after playing another whirlwind 24 ball unbeaten 55 (four 4s and fours 6s) earlier in the night to help his team get past 200.
Born in Death overs
Young Navdeep Saini was simply magnificent in the Super Over for RCB by conceding just 7 runs against the menacing six hitting trio of Pollard-Pandya-Rohit. “Outstanding Super Over from him. He used the yorkers and wide balls to good effect. This should boost us going forward,” said Kohli realising that he may have found someone to partner Bumrah in death overs for India.
For Saini, the Super Over deed wasn’t a fluke. RCB, which is often trolled for its familiar generosity in the death overs, was going in that region again after Adam Zampa and Yuzvendra Chahal were looted of 49 runs in two overs by Pollard (42 off 12 in this phase) and Kishan. Then came Saini who miraculously brought RCB in the game through his five dot balls, even after being hit for a six in the penultimate over of the innings. Last 2 overs, 31 were needed by MI and Saini bowled the critical 19th over like a champion.
Why Kishan didn’t come for Super over?
Of course, fans and experts will always wonder why didn’t Ishant Kishan turn out to bat instead of Pandya after playing a scintillating innings which was as good as an hundred in IPL despite missing the ton by a whisker. “He was drained out and was not comfortable. We thought we could send him but he was not feeling fresh,” explained Rohit after the match.
It was Kishan (he was not even supposed to play the game had Saurabh Tiwari been fit for this game) who took his team closer to the target with five needed off the last two balls. And then, he departed trying to hit another six. Incredibly, Pollard managed to hit the boundary on the last ball to give his team another chance to fight.
'Ati-Sundar' in Powerplay
A pitch which was a batting paradise in Dubai witnessed 20 sixes and 34 boundaries in total and excess of 400 runs which is roughly an average of more than 10 runs per over.
However, it was spinner Washington Sundar’s parsimonious display of spin bowling that stood out for its simplicity. Four over for just 12 runs and three of them in the toughest phase of powerplay.
Icing on the cake was the wicket of the dangerous Rohit Sharma! “Happy to contribute and happy to play such a game. I wanted to contribute in any way and I was glad I did it and doing it against such a team like Mumbai was very good,” said Sundar. Eventually, this was the kind of start forced by Sundar that Mumbai never anticipated. “It was a great game of cricket. We were not in the game at all when we started off with the bat,” admitted Rohit after the game was decided in Super Over.(Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.)