Cricket

Published on April 15th, 2017 | by Suraj Choudhari

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The joy of watching Samuel Badree bowl

For many cricket purists, it is mesmerising to watch a bowler, especially a spinner, bursting onto the scenes and making the leather talk. It is often said – cricket gets more intense and completive when the conditions are bowler friendly.

A format of uncertainties like Twenty20 is customarily acknowledged as a batsman’s game, it has been miserable for bowlers. But, Samuel Badree is the kind of a bowler, who defies these beliefs.

Make no mistake, he ain’t a mystery spinner but someone, who relies on his stock deliveries and a foxy googly, which he bowls without any discernible change in action. No, Badree is not a massive turner of the ball, in fact, he hardly turns the ball. But, his ability to skid through the surface and hurry on to the batsman, stands him apart from his contemporaries. Badree is immaculate when it comes to accuracy and possesses flawless control over his line and length.

Despite having so many qualities and being one of the best in the business, Badree featured only in five Indian Premier League games so far, barring his debut for Royal Challengers Bangalore last night. But, he wasted no time in showing what he is made of. Badree set the stage on fire with his guile and made his RCB debut a memorable one by picking a hat-trick and finished the game with four wickets for nine.

Though Kieron Pollard disrupted Virat Kohli’s comeback but Badree made the night a monumental one. Kohli’s return certainly bolstered his side as the team was sporting a new look in today’s game. His return gave the batting more stability and further the liberty to play a specialist bowler. Badree was handed over the RCB cap and the canny leggie didn’t disappoint.

Inspite of Kohli’s heroics with the bat, RCB’s batting struggled to get going, managing a modest total of 142 on the board. Defending such a low total demands some extraordinary bowling performance on the surface of M Chinnaswamy, which has a reputation of being a batting paradise. Badree produced one but was let down by his teammates, who failed to capitalise on the fantastic start provided.

Badree has been an efficient new ball bowler in shorter formats, his style of bowling assists him the most with the new ball. And, is a regular new ball bowler for his national side West Indies. RCB needed early wickets to put any kind of pressure on MI, and without any surprise, Badree was given the new ball.

Brilliant captaincy by Kohli

After a quiet first over, Stuart Binny got the better of Jos Buttler in the second. Badree continued to put in the hard yards in the third over but this time, Kohli stationed Chris Gayle at short extra-cover in a catching position. Badree bowled full delivery on the off-stump, which was a googly. Parthiv Patel in an attempt to loft it over Gayle failed to read the googly and mistimed it straight to him. Gayle cupped a superb catch to end Patel’s innings on 3.

With Badree being a leg-spinner, MI experimented with the left-handed Mitchell McClenaghan at four. But, the gamble didn’t work out as McClenaghan miscued a low full-toss straight into the hands of Mandeep Singh at long-on. At this stage, MI were in all sorts of trouble and Badree on a hat-trick.

Badree scripts history

With the batsmen being crossed over, on strike was MI skipper Rohit Sharma. Lately, he has had some trouble in reading the other one from a leg-spinner. Imran Tahir got the better of him with the one angling in during their encounter while Rashid Khan caught him leg before with a peach of a delivery. And, on this occasion, it was Badree, who cleaned him up with a fascinating googly.

When Badree was on a hat-trick, many thought a batsman like Rohit Sharma is well capable of denying him one. But, Badree turned out to be too good for him. He pitched the ball on a good length on off stump, got it to move into the right-hander a bit, Rohit played for the leg-spin a pressed for a forward defence. The ball sneaked through the small gap between his bat and pad and kissed the stumps. Badree achieved a massive landmark and Bangalore erupted in joy as MI were reduced to 7 for 4 inside three overs.

Badree was not done yet, he produced yet another wicket on his very last ball of his spell to add more agony on the languishing MIs. He bowled a googly to the in-form Nitish Rana, which hurried onto him with some extra bounce as the southpaw went for the cut and ended up slicing it to Srinath Aravind at point. Badree ended his spell with four wickets to his name and laid the foundation for an emphatic win, but it wasn’t to be.

Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya steal Badree’s pie

Pollard played a gem of an innings to sail the MI ship out of choppy waters to the shore. He backed himself and hammered a match-winning 70 off 47 deliveries. In the course, he stitched a crucial partnership of 93 off 57 deliveries with Krunal to turn the game on its head. Krunal played a solid supporting role and scored a crucial 37 off 30 balls to carry the team over the line.

Despite RCB’s loss, it was captivating to watch Badree spinning a series of web around MI batsmen. In Badree, RCB have found a solid and a reliable bowler, hopefully they address their bowling woes soon and make a comeback in the long tournament. With more matches to come, one can expect Badree to flourish and soon contend for the purple cap this season.

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About the Author

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Suraj Choudhari is a freelance sports journalist. He is an avid follower of the game and played the sport at club level. With a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, he tries to express it through paper and pen.



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