In the tenth edition of the IPL, the Sunrisers Hyderabad were soaring high in the sky through prolific performances in the high prestige tournament, which eventually saw them claim the title for the very first time.
In today’s day and age, cricket has become a game which has predominantly been taken care of by the batsman with their heavy bats who now make zero efforts while clearing the boundary line. But Sunriseres went in the field with a different philosophy.
Though their batting line up had the likes of David Warner, Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan, it was their bowling unit which did most of the talking and often won Hyderabad the game by bundling a team out well below a par score.
Such was the case when the orange army squared off against Kings XI Punjab. The game was being held at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad, and the hosts had scored a moderate total of 160 in the first innings.
Punjab didn’t have to be too adventurous in their run chase, as the target was within reach. But they knew they had a big task ahead of themselves, as they had to face the man in form – Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Kumar is more commonly known for his seam presentation, and the big swing he generates through his wrists. But that particular season, and that particular match was when the world identified Bhuvneshwar Kumar as a bowler who was not only able to move the ball, but had also started to launch the ball with some serious quick pace, along with perfect execution of the slower ones.
Hashim Amla was set to open the innings for Punjab, and the South African was in fine form as he managed to score a ton as soon as he was inducted in the tournament. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the man with the new ball in hand as he ran in to deliver the first one of the second innings. He unleashed a vicious in swinging yorker to Amla, which Amla was clearly unaware of, as the ball thudded his front pad while attempting to play the flick.
The entire stadium and the players appealed for a decision in their favor, and they were bang on to do that, as the umpire pointed his finger to the sky on the very first ball, to give Bhuvnehswar and Hyderabad the prized wicket of Hashim Amla.
Though Bhuvi had successfully got the wicket of Amla, the danger wasn’t clear as Glenn Maxwell walked up to the crease. Known to take away the game within a matter of few overs, it was important to get Maxwell as quick as possible if Hyderabad were to win the game.
The ‘Big Show’ had got two boundaries under his belt and was looking to take on the SRH bowlers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was brought back to bowl another over, but this time to Glenn Maxwell.
The veteran pacer ran in with his ever so smooth run up and bowled a slightly slower one at a pace of 128 kph to Maxwell, outside the off stump and right outside his zone. Maxwell tried smashing the ball out of the park, but failed to get the perfect connection and top edged it into the night sky, as the ball then went straight into his Australian compatriots palms – David Warner, who was standing at long off.
Warner took the big catch of Glenn Maxwell and displayed an animated celebration right towards the local crowd as SRH were now well and truly in the game. Glenn Maxwell was dismissed for 10 and Kings XI Punjab had now lost two of their front line batsmen for a score of 16 in 3 overs. Bhuvi was then given a rest by the skipper – David Warner with his firs spell ending with the figures of 2-9 in his 2 overs.
But that’s when the other opener Manan Vohra got to his groove and started to add pressure on the hosts with scintillating shots of his own. Though Vohra wasn’t getting added support from the other batsmen, he still was looking to take the game to the last over especially since the total to chase wasn’t as intimidating as it seemed.
The game went on and Rashid Khan along with Henriques did take wickets from one end, but Mohit Sharma had just hit a big six and brought down the equation to 33 runs needed of the final 24 balls with Vohra looking as solid as ever from the other end.
Warner was in need of wicket, and that’s when he introduced Bhuvneshwar Kumar for his second spell. Mohit Sharma – the man on strike had his head clear as he wanted to go for as many runs as possible. But Bhuvneshwar was too good for him, since he cunningly bowled a knuckle ball at a short-ish length which enticed Mohit Sharma to play the upper cut.
The trajectory of the delivery seemed poor from the naked eye, but it was all a well made plan, as Shikhar Dhawa was waiting at sweeper cover for the catch which he successfully took. Punjab were 127 for 7, but were still in the game, as they just needed a few blows to narrow down the target and add further pressure.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was now done with his penultimate over, and Manan Vohra took complete advantage of it as he struck a few crucial boundaries in the over after. Kings XI were now in need of just 16 runs in the final 12 deliveries. The game was very much open, and Bhuvi was now about to ball his final over of the spell.
KC Cariappa was the man facing him, as Kumar ran in to bowl the first ball of the over. As soon as Bhuvi delivered the ball, Cariappa danced down the wicket for a big shot, which ultimately ended up getting him yorked, while the ball fiercely crashed into the leg stump.
Though Bhuvneshwar had got his fourth wicket, he didn’t seem much interested in celebrations as Manan Vohra was still in there battling for Punjab. The Hyderabad crowd were now sensing belief but also looked concerned as Vohra was on 95 of just 49 deliveries.
Ishant Sharma being the new man to walk in to the crease did the sensible thing by taking the single and giving the strike to Manan Vohra.
15 runs were now needed of 10, and it was now Bhuvi versus Vohra. Surely both sets of players must have felt the pressure once they were about to confront one another in the final stages.
Bhuvineshwar Kumar ran in to bowl to a well settled Vohra and delivered and even deadlier yourker to the specialist batsman than he did to Amla and Cariappa.
The white leather speared back into Vohra with the angle and struck the front pad. Vohra got bamboozled by his quick pace and execution while trying to attempt the flick.
The appeal was now as loud as ever, and the umpire took no time in quickly adjourning the decision as ‘out’ since it looked absolutely plumb. Vohra walked back to the pavilion after a hard earned knock of 95 (50), but it was Bhuvi who turned out to be the game changer for SRH, as the crowd roared in the stands with that massive wicket. Warner, Yuvraj, Ojha, Dhawan all ran in to bundle on Bhuvneshwar, as the pacer had now scalped a fifer while just conceding 19 runs in his 4 overs, while also bringing SRH close to victory as they now just needed just one more wicket.
Sidharth Kaul did the cleaning up job in the final over, by getting Ishant Sharma out bowled, as Punjab fell short of just 5 runs from claiming an emphatic win.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s lethal spell of fast bowling, mixed with some clever changes of delivery in the middle truly defined it as one of the best ever spells to be bowled in IPL history.
About the Author
Comes from the United Arab Emirates, is a sports junkie and a journalist, who has been following cricket as well as football since childhood. Played cricket in academies, school, and university levels. A fanatic follower of one of Europe's biggest ever football clubs - Manchester United.