NEW DELHI: Renowned commentator Harsha Bhogle expressed his happiness at the bowlers looking to get wickets and not just contain runs in the IPL 2020 match between Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals in Dubai on Wednesday.
In his column for the Times of India, Bhogle wrote, “There were two overs in the Delhi vs Rajasthan game that made you sit up and smile and told you that there is so much more to T20 cricket than the general narrative around it is fixated by.”
South African pace bowler Anrich Nortje bowled the fastest ball in IPL history during his team Delhi’s 13-run victory over Rajasthan. Nortje eclipsed compatriot Dale Steyn’s effort of 154.40 km per hour set in 2012, clocking 154.74 kph and 155.21 kph in the game before his best effort of 156.22 kph was scooped for a boundary by Jos Buttler. Nortje responded immediately with another fiery delivery in the third over to bowl out the England batsman. He finished the match with figures of 2/33 from four overs to take his wicket tally for the season to 10 from eight games.
“I found the encounter between Anrich Nortje and Jos Buttler riveting. Here was a fast bowler doing what fast bowlers are meant to do. Bowl fast. He wasn’t bowling slower ones or wide yorkers, he was steaming in. And Buttler was taking him on. A six and two fours came from deliveries that were around 150 kmph, in fact the fifth ball was bowled at 156! Nortje didn’t go on the defensive and aim to bowl a dot ball. He thundered in again and delivered a full ball at 155. It slipped under Buttler’s flashing blade and knocked the stumps. Six very rapid deliveries, 16 runs and a wicket but even more that, a proper contest between bat and ball. Ball searching for wicket, bat searching for boundary. And people say it isn’t cricket,” Bhogle wrote.
While Delhi were splendid at the death, it was Ravichandran Ashwin‘s artistry during the back 10 with clever variations of pace and flight that brought Delhi back in the game. Ashwin finished with figures of 1/17 and bowled 10 dot balls out of his 24 balls — on par with Nortje. Ashwin sent back Rajasthan captain Steve Smith caught and bowled for one.
“The next over saw the exact opposite. Nortje is a supremely fit athlete, Ashwin is a clever, cerebral wizard. He tossed the ball, holding the pace back, tempting and teasing the batsman. Where Nortje was bowling at 150, Ashwin was doing 85. Where Nortje was hurling the ball into the deck as if to decimate the surface, Ashwin was landing softly on it, reading the pitch, making an offering. Steve Smith, the mighty Steve Smith, was drawn forward, the ball gripped and waited, a return catch ensued. The wicket had been taken in the mind as much as off the surface. Fast and furious, clever and subtle. Two very difficult skills to possess. We saw both in the space of six balls in a game that some say has no time for either! You bring the bowlers back into the game and it becomes so much richer. True, I have enjoyed watching the batsmen here, AB de Villiers the other night was a genius at work, but it is the bowlers that have provided these lovely moments,” Bhogle concluded.

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