This edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has witnessed run feasts. Making optimum use of the smaller grounds, the batsmen go hammer and tongs at the opponent’s bowling line-up, which has led to questions on why some of the biggest exponents of death bowling have failed to execute their potent weapon – the yorker?
Speaking ahead of Mumbai Indians’ fixture against Kings XI Punjab, the team’s bowling coach Shane Bond said the yorker was “just one of the many deliveries that a fast-bowler has in his armour.”
“If you look at the pitch that we played on most of the times so far (Abu Dhabi), it has got really big square boundaries and it is on the slower side, so you could argue that the length ball or slow bouncer is harder to hit for a six rather than perhaps take the pitch out of play – miss a yorker and get hit back over your head,” Bond said.
“It is definitely not a ball that has been just ruled out for us. You saw (Jasprit) Bumrah bowl at AB de Villiers that he missed and it went for a couple of sixes. But he went back in the Super Over and executed it brilliantly. It is a tough ball to hit under pressure and also that if you miss that ball, the likelihood that it’s going to get for a boundary back over your head and goes higher. So from our point of view, we have a range of different balls and we look at the batsmen and analyse where they score (in) the back games, which are their preferred zones and we try and make it as hard we possibly can with an element of unpredictability, so the batsmen isn’t sure what length or line the bowler is bowling and gives bowlers the options to bowl two or three different balls,” Bond, a former New Zealand pace ace, said.
Mumbai Indians lost its previous game against Royal Challengers Bangalore via Super Over, and ahead of yet another key game, the team is cautious about Kings XI skipper K. L. Rahul – who has been in incredible form.
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“K. L. Rahul has got runs against us in the last few games as well. He is a brilliant player. We are having our bowlers’ meeting this afternoon [to plan a strategy]. K. L. is a dynamic player, who scores all around the field. We also know that he takes his time generally through the middle overs, so that’s perhaps an opportunity to create a pressure on him and the batsmen around him,” Bond said.
The bowling coach admits that Mumbai will have specific ideas on how to get Rahul out. “We can’t allow him to score in the areas that he is very, very strong. He scores well over extra-cover, picks up over fine-leg. We have got a quality bowling unit, we just have to put pressure on him. The two key batsmen for Kings XI Punjab have played brilliantly so far. If we can create some pressure and get those boys out, and put some little bit more pressure on the middle-order early, we can restrict them to a score and stop them from scoring (big) runs,” Bond said.
“We are reasonably confident with our batting line-up. They have put up good runs on the board so far and we have a tough batting order. We have played on this ground twice and know the conditions, so that should help us.”
Talking about the wickets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Bond agreed that the tracks have been a bit slow. “We have looked at the history of these grounds in other competitions and the scores have been around 140-160 – averaging about 150. But in this tournament, we have seen huge runs on both the grounds – 180-200. The wickets have been a little bit slow, there has been a little of seam movement for the fast bowlers early on. You have to give credit to the batsmen for the shot-making in the tournament so far. It has been exceptional,” Bond said.
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“As the tournament moves on, the wickets might slow down a little bit as indicated by last night’s game, but you have to be accurate. Particularly, when we have a couple of matches in Sharjah, we have seen massive scores… We try to keep things simple and allow the boys to come up with anything that they need to adapt get used to the wickets,” the seasoned coach said.