“That’s how you bowl at the back end of an innings! Outstanding Natarajan.”
Australian pace great Brett Lee had tweeted these words after an outstanding 18th over of the innings by left-arm paceman T. Natarajan for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Delhi Capitals on Monday.
The Tamil Nadu seamer sent down an astonishing five yorkers – one delivery was a misdirected full toss – in an over that all but finished the match as a contest.
Marcus Stoinis, one of the hardest hitters in the game, who faced most of the over, played across to the final delivery and was trapped leg-before by that ball again – the yorker.
Until Natarajan’s captivating exhibition, yorkers were few and far between even by renowned exponents of it such as Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in this IPL.
Adding an extra yard of speed had provided the cutting edge to the 29-year-old Natarajan’s bowling. He has filled out well and there is greater thrust in his run-up and final delivery stride.
When velocity combines with precision, the effect can be lethal. Bowling an effective yorker is a lot about understanding the release point and it is here that Natarajan has done well. He comprehends his craft, knows how to use his weapon.
Last season, Natarajan was the lynchpin of the Tamil Nadu attack as it made the final of both the Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali tournaments.
The yorker is also a high-risk delivery since it can so easily turn into a full toss and disappear into the stands. On Tuesday, though, Natarajan displayed the control and the confidence to bowl a string of toe-crushers.
A late developer from a humble background, this Salem lad first made headlines when he was snapped up for INR 3 Crores by Kings XI Punjab in 2017. Mentally and physically, he was not ready then.
Now, the rediscovered Natarajan’s yorkers are on target.