Rajasthan Royals’ leggie Yuzvendra Chahal on how he foxed his victims en route match-winning maiden IPL hat-trick against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday
RR’s Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates his hat-trick against KKR at Brabourne Stadium on Monday. Pic/PTI
Despite Rajasthan Royals putting up 200-plus runs on the board, a win wasn’t guaranteed. But some brilliant leg-spin bowling by Yuzvendra Chahal put Kolkata Knight Riders’ chase in jeopardy at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday night.
Chasing RR’s 217-5 thanks to Jos Buttler’s majestic 103, KKR were cruising at 178-4 after 16 overs with skipper Shreyas Iyer leading from the front with 85 off 51 balls. However, Chahal, who had conceded 38-1 in his first three overs, bowled a magical last over that brought RR back in the game. RR eventually won by seven runs.
Crucial 17th over
Bowling the 17th over, Chahal claimed four wickets, including a maiden IPL hat-trick, conceding just two runs to finish with 4-0-40-5.
He first foxed Venkatesh Iyer (6) on the first ball with a googly. After a dot ball, a run and a wide ball, Chahal had Shreyas trapped leg before, a decision that even the DRS ruled in his favour. His second wicket was Shivam Mavi, who holed out at long-on. Chahal’s hat-trick victim was Pat Cummins who edged a classical leg-spinner to wicketkeeper Sanju Samson.
To bowl googly or not
Chahal revealed he had a few doubts about what his hat-trick delivery should be. “Cummins may have been thinking about the googly, but I was like, ‘I don’t want to take a chance because the googly might go for a six’. It happened against Lucknow [Super Giants]. So, I didn’t want to take a chance. I’d be happy with a dot ball,” Chahal said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Chahal explained his thought process before bowling the 17th over. “My mind was like...‘I have to take wickets in that over as only that can change the game [for RR]’. I was planning to bowl wider and to mix-up it up and bowl fuller. You can’t bowl mostly leg-spin to him [Venkatesh] because I know he’s a good hitter.
“My googly was coming off well, so I thought it’s better to take a chance now,” Chahal said.
RR bowling coach Lasith Malinga lauded Chahal’s wicket-taking ability. “Leg-spinners have more wicket-taking options and he [Chahal] showed today [Monday] how he can get wickets and change the game in a single over.
“I think he has showed all leg-spinners that they are the match-winning bowlers in this competition,” the Sri Lankan legend said at the post-match virtual press conference.
Praise from Malinga
“Chahal has more international experience. He is the most experienced leg-spinner in the country and in this tournament. He showed great control over his skill. That’s more important for him going forward to prove he is good enough to play any competitive cricket,” added Malinga.
Chahal also impressed opposition coach Brendon McCullum of KKR with his performance. “With four overs to go, we were in the driver’s seat, but then some silly mistakes and not being able to handle pressure cost us the game. You can’t allow good players like Chahal to enter the game when there’s pressure on. We played a good game, but just made a couple of silly mistakes,” said McCullum.