Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) With a batting order which looked strong on paper but misfired on the field, Lucknow Super Giants knew that they had a chance to make inroads in the Mumbai Indians’ batting line-up if they were to defend 200 at Brabourne Stadium.
That was duly filled by pacer Avesh Khan, who struck twice in the power-play to set the base of keeping Mumbai 18 runs short of chasing down 200.
Introduced from the third over, Khan began by bowling a wide against Rohit Sharma followed by beating him. Though Sharma flicked for a four through mid-wicket, Khan bounced back by conceding no run and then got Sharma to edge a short of length ball behind to the keeper. Though Khan was pushed on the backfoot by Dewald Brevis’ 13-ball 31, Khan took him out with a low full toss hit straight to cover at the end of power-play.
“The attempt was to take out wickets initially as they were playing with six batters. Our plan was to take out one or two wickets early so that we can be on top of the game. Irrespective of the team, pitch or venue, if you make 200 runs then the scoreboard pressure is on other team. When we were walking towards the ground, this was the conversation happening and talked about doing well on the field and bowling in good areas,” said Khan in the post-match virtual press conference.
There was an advice from his captain K.L Rahul when Khan was being swatted for boundaries by the young South Africa batter. “Have very good communication (with the captain). When I was trying to take wicket of Brevis, that time he said ‘length ball is picking well, you can try it’. I bowled a bouncer and then on the yorker, he was caught at cover. I have very good conversations with the captain in middle of a spell while bowling, which helps a lot.”
The yorker to Brevis was something which Khan usually attempts in the death over, seen during his four-wicket haul against Sunrisers Hyderabad. That time, he attempted to take out Nicholas Pooran with a yorker but eventually got him out with a high full toss.
He then took out Abdul Samad with a fullish delivery coming close to being a yorker. In the match against Mumbai, Khan showed that he has got the ability to bowl yorkers either in power-play or death overs, something which he explains comes from rigorous practice.
“In practice sessions, I try to back my yorkers. I bowl my yorkers with 100 percent effort even in practice sessions because in the match, there always comes a situation where you have to bowl yorkers. As a bowler, if you don’t bowl your yorkers with 100 percent effort, it will be a miss then.
“If you miss the yorker, then the batter has a good chance to hit the ball for a boundary. In the final over of the match or in the death overs, I always try to bowl with 100 percent of my effort and focus on the execution that whenever I bowl yorkers, I have to hit pinpoint yorkers or wide yorker or stump yorkers. I always try to bowl the yorkers exactly on the line,” he said.
During the IPL 2022 mega auction, four franchises wanted him in their side. But Lucknow got him over others. The shift from Delhi to Lucknow hasn’t brought any change in role for Khan, who is firmly focused to do well in future for his new team.
“The role hasn’t changed. I was taking out wickets there and will try to take out more wickets to make the team win in future matches. You can’t remain in the same franchise as you change from one to another. This one is a really good franchise and endeavour is to do well in future matches as we won four out of six matches and will plan for future matches to maintain the (bowling) rhythm,” Khan said.