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The first week of IPL6 has introduced us to some fascinating Indian talents, and the Hyderabad-Bangalore shed light on another one of those talents – Hanuma Vihari. The young all-rounder dismissed Chris Gayle with his first ball in IPL. Later with the Sunrisers in trouble chasing 131, the 19-year-old scored a matured unbeaten 44 to tie the game.
Vinay Kumar was the hero of the game thus far. For the second straight game, he'd bowled a tight final over. In the last game, he'd denied Mumbai a win. Today, he prevented Hyderabad from getting seven in the final over. But he quickly turned the villain of the piece with Cameron White hitting him for two sixes in the Super Over in which Hyderabad scored 20 runs. Dale Steyn, easily the best pace bowler around, held Bangalore to just 15 in Hyderabad's Super Over despite Chris Gayle hitting a six off the penultimate ball that opened up the possibility of the Super Over also ending in a tie.
It was Hyderabad's second straight win, giving them a great start to the 2013 season after two disastrous ones earlier.
Debutant bowlers in the IPL would be raring to get a game now. Four of them have struck gold in their first spell on the big stage. Mumbai’s Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Virat Kohli, Rajasthan’s Rahul Shukla got Mahela Jayawardene, Ankit Rajpoot bounced out Ricky Ponting (all three IPL captains), and today young Vihari dismissed the dangerous Gayle with his first ball in IPL.
Looking at Gayle’s T20 record, you’d think Vihari, the young Hyderabadi off-spinner who played for India U-19, was a lamb being readied for a kabab platter. But what an anti-climax it turned out to be. The game had been built up for the Gayle vs Steyn contest, but that contest barely got going. Gayle tapped Steyn for a single first ball and settled down at the non-striker’s. Next over, on comes Vihari, bowls a harmless looking off-break around the wicket. Gayle goes for a cut, the ball skids on, bounces a bit, Gayle gets an edge and wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel hangs on to the catch. It was a massive wicket. But it wasn’t the only good thing Vihari did today.
Poor catching figured prominently in Hyderabad’s list of woes in previous seasons. Ashish Reddy’s tumbling effort of his own bowling today was a step towards rectifying those woes. Reddy induced the leading edge off Kohli’s blade and dived forward for a tidy, one-handed take in his follow-through. Big wicket.
Just when Hyderabad’s fielding was looking up, Ishant Sharma put down an easy catch off Mayank Agarwal at deep midwicket. Soon, Ishant was trending on Twitter – but that was also because he finished the innings with an impressive 3-27. Before the innings ended, Reddy himself put one down: another easy one, this time at third-man off Steyn whose figures of 1-30 belied a decent performance today.
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UNADKAT TURNS IT AROUND
Vihari and Kumar Sangakkara batted for only 33 runs together, but their partnership brought a calming effect to their innings. Hyderabad had lost three batsmen trying to push the run-rate and some level-headed batting was needed.
The partnership was acquiring match-winning proportions when Jaidev Unadkat’s spell triggered a turnaround. Generating pace and bounce, Unadkat produced an edge off Sangakkara’s bat and wicketkeeper Arun Karthik made a fine tumbling effort to his left. Shortly after, Thisara Perera lost his head and holed out giving Unadkat another wicket. Vihari pressed on with his ones and twos, displaying the maturity of a veteran. There were only two boundaries in his knock, but he did the job.
Fast-bowling is a physically draining job which leaves pacers with little energy to dive around or to produce exceptional bits of fielding. So it was delightful to see Vinay put in a massive dive to save a certain four at the cover boundary. But that wasn’t all.
Vinay got up, collected the ball and hurled in a rocket throw to Arun Karthik, leaving a rather surprised Amit Mishra miles out of his crease as he trundled in for a third run. It was the fielding highlight of the day, but this still wasn’t all.
Vinay is turning out to be Bangalore’s best pressure absorber this season. He has saved Bangalore in the last game with a tight last over against Mumbai. Here, he held Hyderabad to just six in the final over. But sadly for him, his tight bowling would be forgotten thanks to White’s brutal hitting in the Super Over.
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