Sunrisers now have another bowler who can deliver the goods when the team needs it, and can keep his cool under pressure.
The highlights package might not show it to you. The scorecard might not reveal it. But then, the 6 deliveries that he bowled in the 18th over were worth their weight in gold for his side.
Thangarasu Natarajan made sure that the Delhi Capitals’ batsmen were just not able to get under the ball as he executed his plans to perfection to allow his side to pick up their first victory in the 13th edition of the IPL.
That 18th over from Natarajan
The Delhi Capitals were in fact getting a move on to hunt down the Sun Risers’ total. It is really important for us to understand what happened between overs 14 and 17 to fully understand and appreciate Natarajan’s bowling effort in that crucial 18th over. Leading up to that 18th over from Natarajan, the Delhi Capitals had scored 41 runs in overs 14 to 17, and were looking to go all guns blazing.
When Natarajan got the ball in his hand, the Delhi side needed 44 runs from three overs. The two teams that chased on 27th and 28th September (in the previous 2 games) were placed at a similar position, and had given the bowling side a run for their money. Now, Natarajan had to ensure that he did not give away too many runs and release the pressure.
The first ball from Natarajan was a yorker that was bang on the stumps, and all that Axar Patel could manage to do was to hit it through the leg side for a single. That brought the dangerous Marcus Stoinis on strike. The Australian had smashed the Kings XI Punjab bowlers to the cleaners just a week ago, and it is indeed a tough ask to keep him quiet, especially at the end of an innings.
The second delivery from Natarajan was again on the block hole. Stoinis could not get under it, and managed to get only a couple. The third delivery was again right up there, at close to 140 kmph. Stoinis was rendered helpless, and the big-hitting Australian could just get a single and go to the other end. The pressure was mounting, and Natarajan was doing a fantastic job.
Natarajan kept it simple yet again. Another yorker. Axar Patel hit it down the ground for a single. Singles and twos were definitely not going to help Delhi’s cause. But what could they do, when a bowler was executing his plans to perfection?
Off the fifth delivery, Natarajan missed the block hole by a fraction and Stoinis got the ball away to square leg. He scampered for a couple in a bid to keep the strike. It was now getting tougher for Delhi. They desperately needed a six, or at least a boundary off the final delivery from Natarajan.
Off the final delivery, what did the left arm pacer do? Again, he bowled full and straight. Stoinis tried to move to the off side and flick the ball past fine leg. But then, he did not get bat to ball, and was caught dead in front of the stumps.
The left arm pacer, who has not even featured in 10 IPL matches bowled a fantastic 18th over. Not only did he give away just 7 runs, he also picked up the important wicket of Stoinis to seal the game for his side.
A vital cog in the SRH bowling setup
The Sunrisers outfit is blessed with a world class seamer who can swing the ball both ways in Bhuvneshwar Kumar. They have probably the most demanded T20 spinner in their set up in Rashid Khan. And now, they have another bowler who can deliver the goods when the team needs it, and can keep his cool under pressure.
Yes! Thangarasu Natarajan might have not played a single international game, and might have played just 9 IPL matches. But, in the game against Delhi Capitals, he showed the world that he is a talent that is worth the investment, especially in crunch moments in a T20 game.