With Sunrisers Hyderabad needing to defend 19 runs off the final over against Mumbai Indians, tearaway pacer Umran Malik had an over left. But captain Kane Williamson went in with Afghanistan left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqui, who had featured in three ODIs and four T20Is before signing up for IPL 2022.
Subsequently, Farooqui gave away 15 runs in the final over to seal a narrow three-run win for Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium.
When asked why Malik didn’t bowl the final over despite taking 3/23 in his first three overs, Hyderabad head coach Tom Moody explained that the Jammu pacer is in the team for making an impact in the middle overs, and that giving him the final over was a risk which was too high, making them turn towards Farooqui.
“At the end of the day, Umran is being used as an impact bowler in the middle. He’s done that very well for us and has taken wickets where we have needed them in the middle of the innings. He is yet to hone his skills as a specialist death bowler. You got a Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Natarajan and Farooqui who have got the experience of bowling in the death,” said Moody in the post-match virtual press conference.
“You got to back the bowlers who have done this role before and taken the responsibility and did that role plenty of times. To expose him when he hasn’t had that experience is probably a high-risk option. Not that he couldn’t have done it, he could’ve probably done it very well, but we went in with a specialist who normally does death bowling,” added Moody.
On Tuesday, Malik started with a 17-run first over against Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan. But Malik came back strong in his next two overs by scalping the wickets of Kishan, Tilak Verma and Daniel Sams. Moody believes that the match against Mumbai was another chapter in learnings from the tournament for Malik.
“Umran is still on a steep learning curve. He has bowled exceptionally well in this IPL. He has had his moments where he was being challenged. But like any young player who bursts on to the scene, you need to be measured with your approach. It’s a big step-up. When it comes to international cricket, there’s no doubt that’s the path he will take in time — whether that time is month’s time, week’s time or a year’s time, only time will tell. But he has crammed a lot of learning in a very short period of time. He has come from very little cricket; he has been exposed to very little cricket. He is now on an accelerated learning process.”
Apart from Malik, Hyderabad were aided by Rahul Tripathi’s enthralling 76 and a change in the batting order. Priyam Garg came in for Shashank Singh and opened alongside Abhishek Sharma. The move meant Williamson dropped down the order to not disturb the three-four-five order of Tripathi, Nicholas Pooran and Aiden Markram. The moves worked wonders for Hyderabad as they made 193/6 in 20 overs, leaving people wondering why the batting order wasn’t changed before in the tournament.
Moody, though, didn’t feel like that. “I don’t think it’s too late (to change SRH batting order). Kane Williamson is a world-class player; we know that in all formats he’s done it for a long period of time. He has had a difficult season, a slow season for his standards, there’s no question of that. But we were comfortable at constantly backing him because we knew the rest of our order was in place.
“Tripathi at three was batting exceptionally well, (Aiden) Markram at four was batting well and Nicholas Pooran was batting well at five so we felt that we didn’t want to disturb what was really working for us and we were prepared to back Kane which we believe is still the right decision.”