IPL 2021: Harshal Patel- "REMEMBER THE NAME"

Harshal Patel was sensational with the ball for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match of IPL 2021 against Mumbai Indians.

Harshal Patel file photo, Image Credits: Facebook/ICC

Remember the name Harshal Patel. The first-ever bowler to record a five-wicket haul against the batting powerhouse of Mumbai Indians (MI). An easy contender for the Player of the Match which he was duly named. Harshal joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) camp this season, after a 2-year stint with the Delhi Capitals (DC). He represented RCB in the IPL from 2012-2017 before his move to DC. The first match of IPL 2021 was played out in Chennai between RCB and MI.

Due to current COVID regulations, only 6 venues will be used for this year’s IPL. Virat Kohli won the toss and asked MI to bat. The Mumbai-based franchise got off to a slow and steady start until there was a brain fade moment. Rohit who had just started to play some good shots and was timing the ball well, got dismissed cheaply due to a misunderstanding with his partner. It was a key turning point in the match as the MI skipper seemed setup for a big score.

Surya Kumar Yadav and Chris Lynn steadied the ship for the Mumbai-based franchise. Surya played some marvellous strokes and Lynn was smacking the ball as if he were playing baseball. When Mumbai tried to change gears, the new Kiwi recruit Kyle Jamieson was brought back into the attack for a breakthrough which he provided. Surya and Lynn fell in quick succession which meant there were two new batsmen at the crease. This was RCB’s opportunity to cease, the man of the day Harshal Patel managed to get Hardik LBW with a slow full toss. RCB’s fielding wasn’t up to the mark on the day. Siraj and Kohli both dropped sitters but Harshal was there to cover up for his teammates. He got rid of the dangerous Ishan Kisan who was looking to steer the innings for Mumbai.

Game changer

Harshal Patel’s last over was the most eventful over in the match. The Mumbai-based franchise lost four wickets and scored only 1 run off it, restricting them to 159 in 20 overs. Harshal’s bowling figures (5/26) are his best in the IPL and the best-ever figures for a bowler against the MI in 13 years.

The RCB chase began with a very shocking change at the top of the order. No, it’s not about Virat opening, it is about Washington Sundar who came out to open with Virat. A huge gamble by RCB to send a five down batsman at the top of the order to face the Mumbai quicks, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. This move did not go the way the Bangalore-based franchise wanted it to go. Sundar was slow to start off his innings and never got going before he was dismissed by Krunal.

The confidence shown in Sundar by Virat since the Australian series is something to watch out for. Even in the England series, he played a crucial role with both bat and ball. Will they give Sundar another chance at the top after today’s performance? Would be interesting to see if Virat backs him up in the next match for opening the batting.

Amruth Kalidas

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