VISAKHAPATNAM: Considering that the world we now inhabit is quite preoccupied with the notion of consumerism, we tend to ascribe superficial gleanings about anything to its quiddity.
A case in point being the IPL, where the spotlight is often focussed upon match-winning individual performances. Cameos — the degree of their being pivotal notwithstanding —more often than not end up fading away from our memories.
That, though, doesn’t in any way diminish the importance of those supporting roles. Take for instance the Hyderabad Sunrisers’s pace battery. Mustafizur Rahman and Ashish Nehra have already become cynosures with their stellar outings against the Kings XI Punjab and the Mumbai Indians, and rightly so.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, though, barring his Man of the Match outing against the Gujarat Lions for a splendid 4-0-29-4 tally, has been going about doing his bit in every match, silently in the background. The Meerut native is currently the highest wicket taker for his franchise with a tally of 14 scalps — one more than Mustafizur’s haul.
A major part of any opening bowler’s job description is to whittle the opposition’s batting line-up during the powerplay itself — a task that Bhuvneshwar has excelled at in the event so far. The right-arm seamer has bowled 22 overs in the first six with an economy rate of 5.82, while picking up ten wickets.
He and Dhawal Kulkarni have bowled the most number of maiden overs so far (3), but all of Bhuvaneshwar’s have come within the first six overs. The Sunrisers have also gone on to win in five of the seven matches in which Bhuvneshwar has struck in his first over during the powerplay. The last statistic that may not seem correlative, but it does showcase a tinge of causality. Moises Henriques affirms to this too.
“He’s a genius bowler. Every game he seems to get us off to good starts. And, very often he takes a wicket, if not in his first over, then in his second. We’re very lucky to have Bhuvi because he’s been performing very well for us. And he is doing what he is to do before,” remarked the Sunrisers all-rounder after his team successfully defended their 137 against the Rising Pune Supergiants on Tuesday.
Bhuvneshwar, unsurprisingly, had the figures of 4-1-20-1. During the powerplay in the clash, he bowled three overs (the first of which was a wicket maiden, with the prized scalp of Ajinkya Rahane) and gave away just five runs. “When you get a start like that, when you have a team at 1/6 in two overs or 1/10 off three overs, then they’re already playing catch-up, even with a small total. He’s been fantastic,” observed Henriques.
Bhuvaneshwar’s ability to extract prodigious swing — in both directions —particulary in conducive conditions has been a definitive reason for his success, especially at the start of the innings. Henriques too was of the same opinion.
“The one thing I can take out is always trying to present the seam in the right way. If it is swinging, you can get some swing in the right conditions, Bhuvi does that so well, so I’m always watching the way his wrist is and his bowling action.”