Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar revealed that he knew Punjab Kings stand-in skipper Shikhar Dhawan would step out against him to get a boundary in Sunday’s match at the D.Y Patil Stadium. Dhawan had begun the innings by getting a boundary through mid-wicket off Kumar in the opening over.
But the right-arm pacer bounced back in his second over to take out Dhawan for eight off 11 balls. Dhawan’s dismissal meant that Kumar surpassed Zaheer Khan and Sandeep Sharma (at 52 wickets) to be the leading wicket-taker in power-play overs of the IPL with 53 scalps.
“There was no swing so I looked to pitch it back of a length. That was my plan against Shikhar as I knew he would step out and look for the boundary. I looked to hit a hard length and find the top edge and luckily that’s what happened,” said Kumar after the match.
Kumar returned to take out Shahrukh Khan and Liam Livingstone to finish with figures of 3/22 in his four overs. The three-wicket haul meant Kumar became the first Indian pacer and seventh overall to take 150 IPL wickets.
Other pacers in the coveted list are Wes’ Indies’ Dwayne Bravo and Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga while the Indian bowlers in the exclusive club are leg-spinners Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla, Yuzvendra Chahal and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
“I looked to play with my field as well. I try to bowl to the batter’s weakness or to the ground’s dimensions. The wicket and my skills are what I look at,” stated Kumar about his crucial three-wicket haul for Hyderabad.
Complementing Kumar from the other end was young tearaway quick Umran Malik, who bagged 4/28 in his four overs, his first four-wicket haul in IPL. Kumar jokingly remarked, “More than helping me, it means I am a target as batters think I’m slower. But watching him bowl fast and get wickets is a joy. Hope the others going after me leads to wickets and not boundaries.”
The seven-wicket win over Punjab means that Hyderabad are now in fourth place in the points table with eight points and face Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 23 at Brabourne Stadium.