Bishnoi’s Faster Variations Trick SRH On Slow Surface

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Bishnoi's faster variations trick SRH on slow surface. Shades of Rashid Khan in Ravi Bishnoi?

Bishnoi’s Faster Variations Trick SRH On Slow SurfaceShades of Rashid Khan in Ravi Bishnoi?

“I thought he was not the same bowler we had seen last year. I worked on his run-up and a few other things because he was drifting down the leg side even in practice games. That's why he didn't start the tournament earlier,” reasoned Anil Kumble in April this year, justifying Ravi Bishnoi's exclusion for Punjab Kings' first four matches of IPL 2021.

Bishnoi eventually returned to the eleven for the game against Mumbai Indians in Chennai, making an impact straightaway with figures of 2-21 from his four overs and combined with Mohammed Shami to help their side end a losing streak that lasted for three games. Bishnoi, who featured in the next three matches that the Kings played during the India leg of the tournament, bowled tight spells against Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore – finishing with 0-19 and 2-17 – while he had an off day against Delhi Capitals as he went for 0-42.

When the Kings resumed their campaign in the UAE leg, the arrival of Adil Rashid, No. 4 in the ICC T20I rankings for bowlers, meant that Bishnoi was again left out from the eleven. The England legspinner, however, went for 35 from his wicket-less three overs in the Kings' narrow loss to Rajasthan Royals, and Bishnoi was back in the mix again. The 21-year-old responded to the recall with a telling performance, reinforcing his credentials to the team management with figures of 3-19 that helped the Kings defend 125 against Sunrisers Hyderabad to remain afloat in the play-offs race.

Bishnoi returned 1-13 in the game against the Sunrisers last year as the Kings defended 125, but the venue was Dubai where the slightly longer boundary on one side made things a bit easier for the bowlers. On Saturday (September 25), the pitch was a sluggish one and wasn't ideal for the batters but Sharjah's short boundaries meant that the margin for error was minimum as well.

When Bishnoi was introduced into the attack in the eighth over, Sunrisers were already in early trouble having lost David Warner and Kane Williamson to Shami, and managing only 20 in the powerplay – their lowest Powerplay score. But with Manish Pandey and Wriddhiman Saha at the crease, with loads of experience playing on slow pitches, the spinners needed to bowl at the right areas and sustain the pressure. Bishnoi didn't start all that well, bowling a short one to Pandey who played a pull shot to score what was only the second boundary for the Sunrisers in their innings.

The bowler hit back with a googly later in the over to end Pandey's stay. He conceded only 11 runs off his first two overs before bagging the wickets of Kedar Jadhav (bowled by a quicker googly) and Abdul Samad (caught a short third man) to reduce the Sunrisers to 60/5 after 13 overs. Even Jason Holder, who led a valiant fightback, was clueless when Bishnoi's googly nearly took the stumps. Despite being hit for a six by the West Indies all-rounder, the leggie completed an excellent spell in tandem with Harpreet Brar, with the two spinners conceding only 49 runs in their eight overs combined.

Holder, who scored an unbeaten 47 off 29 and kept Sunrisers in the game till the last ball, rued that the batters “left a little bit too much to do” in the end. But run-making certainly wasn't easy, especially with the pace and lines that the spinners bowled, not giving time and room for the batters. Unlike Adil Rashid, who bowled 12 of his 18 deliveries in the previous game below 90 kmph, Bishnoi was a lot quicker bowling at an average of 95.8 kmph while his fastest was bowled at 99.6 kmph. It was quite similar to how Rashid Khan operated earlier in the game, averaging over 90 kmph with his quickest being 96.8.

Aiden Markram, who was the top run-getter for the Kings with a 32-ball 27, faced 10 deliveries from Rashid Khan in which he scored eight runs, including a boundary. He observed some similarities in the way the Afghanistan spinner and Bishoi operated, “I've faced a little bit more of Ravi Bishnoi (in practice), more than Rashid (in the match). But the first thing that comes to mind is the speed at which they bowl is pretty similar.

“Quite a flat, quick speed but even though it's flat and quick they are still getting purchase – which is an amazing skill. Ravi is going to go from strength to strength, Rashid naturally is one of the best spinners in the world. I'm sure Ravi Bishnoi is looking at a guy like Rashid Khan to almost develop a game around or similar to. Having said that, both of them are outstanding bowlers.”

Drawing a comparison to Rashid Khan and outdoing the Afghanistan legspinner (in terms of wickets) would count as a shot in the arm for Bishnoi who yet again proved to the Kings' management why he should be among the first few names chosen on the team list. That the Kings have lost four out of five times when Bishnoi has been left out, accentuates the need for his continued presence.

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