Few sights in the IPL warm the cockles of the heart more than a fast bowler holding his own, amidst the chaos. Jasprit Bumrah is often that man for Mumbai Indians, and his unplayable spell on Thursday (2/18) returned the defending champions to winning ways. But even in a losing cause, a quick bowler standing tall among the ruins makes for a heart-warming sight. Under the radar of big sixes, Kings XI Punjab’s Sheldon Cottrell quietly ignited his redemptive arc.
Just four nights earlier, left-arm seamer Cottrell had been smashed by Rajasthan Royals’s Rahul Tewatia for 30 runs in an over, which was cause for the greatest chase in IPL history. And one feared that the proud Jamaican, renowned for his march-and-salute celebrations, would forever be attached with the Tewatia over. But just like Stuart Broad before him, Cottrell shook off both the memory and the misery quickly.
In Abu Dhabi, 31-year-old Cottrell ran in to bowl his first over since the one to Tewatia – the opening over of the contest. For the first four balls, his vicious outswingers had Quinton de Kock pinned to his crease. The next ball crashed into de Kock’s stumps and out came a roar and a salute. By the time the over – a wicket-maiden – ended, the smile had returned to the 31-year-old’s face.
It stayed there for the rest of his spell as well, with figures of 4-1-20-1 – a far cry from Sharjah. When Cottrell was done with his four overs by the 13th over of the innings, Mumbai were 83 for two, also a far cry from where they eventually finished. In the remaining seven Cottrell-less overs, Punjab conceded an incredible 108 runs.
So, how did Mumbai get to 192? Well, not all of Punjab’s pacers were as impressive as Cottrell. Jimmy Neesham was smacked for 52 runs from his four overs, 40 of those from his final two. Even Mohammed Shami paid the price for one weak over, going from 1/17 after three overs to 1/36. And without Cottrell bowling at the death, spinner Krishnappa Gowtham was walloped for four sixes by Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya in the 20th over.
Pollard and Pandya finished with unbeaten scores of 47 and 30 respectively, the two of them taking over seamlessly after Rohit Sharma had anchored the innings until then with 70 steady runs. Now all Sharma had to do was ensure that his bowlers got rid of Punjab’s centurions from this edition – openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal – before much damage.
Anything an opposition fast bowler can do, Bumrah can generally do better. In his very first over, Bumrah castled Agarwal (for 25) to hurt Punjab early. A few overs later, spinner Rahul Chahar bowled his namesake around his waist and the downfall had begun, despite a spark of a revival by Nicholas Pooran. By the time Bumrah returned to dismiss Neesham and buff up his already fine figures, the match was well and truly over.