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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL2021: MI vs RCB - Play of the Day - A final over worth its weight in gold

Harshal Patel shot to limelight after bowling a final over made in heaven against Mumbai Indians.

The opening night of Vivo IPL 2021 belonged to an underdog called Harshal Patel [Credits: The Quint]

The opening night of Vivo IPL 2021 belonged to an underdog called Harshal Patel [Credits: The Quint]


Anjishnu Roy

Published: 9 April 2021 6:54 PM GMT

The Indian Premier League exudes an aura of cricket royalty, unlike no other tournament.

Where else would you find the likes of Rohit Sharma, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard going head-to-head against Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, AB De Villiers, and Kyle Jamieson?

It's safe to say, the season opener of IPL 2021 wasn't short on household names.

However, by the end of the match, the name of a 30-year-old and rather obscure pace bowler from Haryana was on everyone's lips - Harshal Patel.

Going into the tournament, Royal Challengers Bangalore were criticized by many for their lack of resources when it comes to death-bowling.

It's an arena of the game that haunted them last season and which they failed to address in the IPL 2021 Auction as well.

IPL 2021 MI vs RCB: Play of the Day - An outrageous final over

Harshal Patel, however, made sure that this time around, the joke would be on all the fans.

Coming in to bowl the final over of the innings, he was up against the KP brothers in Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard.

Krunal Pandya had recently smashed the fastest half-century for a debutant in ODI cricket. Kieron Pollard, on the other hand, is Kieron Pollard. An IPL strike rate close to 150 is a mere understatement to his batting prowess.

First ball

Harshal Patel, however, remained unfazed by the names.

He had gotten past the defences of Krunal's superstar brother Hardik in the 16th over and then took care of Ishan Kishan in the 18th.

High on confidence as well as adrenaline, he charged towards Krunal Pandya in the first ball of the final over and bowled a tight delivery on the leg stump line. Krunal went for flamboyance and whipped out his blade.

The ball sailed high into the night sky and dropped right into the hands of Dan Christian in Deep Mid-Wicket.

Second ball

In the second ball of the over, he was up against the mighty Kieron Pollard.

Keeping the line full, Harshal ingeniously took the pace off the ball, almost daring and inviting Pollard to have a go at him. The man from Trinidad took the bait and swung at it wildly with a single hand.

And like what most half-executed shots do, it found the safe hands of Washington Sundar in the deep. Lightning had struck twice.

Third ball

For his hattrick-ball, the RCB pacer was up against rookie Marco Jansen.

In an almost Malingaesque manner, Harshal bowled a slow, dipping yorker that missed the leg stump by a hair or two.

Had he kept it straighter to the stumps, he'd not only have his well-deserved hattrick in the season opener but would've also made a major statement.

Fourth ball

Not taking a moment to rue the missed chances, the bowler who was now in his elements made sure to stick to the line of stumps in the fourth delivery of the final over.

It was almost like the three balls he bowled before set up the perfect opportunity for him to bowl a beautiful slow yorker and Harshal Patel executed it with disdain.

Harshal Patel basking in the joy and the contentment of bowling a perfect wicket-taking yorker. [Credits: India Fantasy]

He squeezed the delivery through the inside edge of Jansen's bat and his front foot and castled his leg stump like a deer caught in headlights.

Out came the arms as Harshal looked towards the skies in celebration and revelry. Many would tell you, bowling is an art, and these four deliveries in the final over against five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians was Harshal Patel's masterpiece.

But he wasn't done yet.

Fifth ball

With two balls to go, he starved Bumrah with the penultimate delivery, another finely executed slow yorker.

Cricket is a game of millimeters but on this night, everything came together for Harshal Patel.

Final ball

For his final delivery, Harshal launched one down the middle stump, making sure to take the pace off it once again.

Bumrah waited and waited and finally drove it to long-on. He ran towards the other end, making sure that Mumbai Indians would avoid the embarrassment of getting nailed by a wicket maiden in the final over of an IPL inning.

Rahul Chahar wanted to come back for a second, but Bumrah was never interested, to begin with, and De Villiers was left to do the formalities after a sharp Kohli throw.

One over, one run, four wickets.

During the innings break, the man of the moment, Harshal Patel revealed that it was his first five-wicket haul in almost 100 T20s.

The sweat and tears and joy and disappointment and learnings of all those 100 odd games came together and helped Harshal attain the peak of his craft.

The fact that this milestone arrived against Mumbai Indians, a side whose defence nobody was able to breach five times before made the night pretty special.

But the fact that he was able to hit the winning runs under tense circumstances on the final ball to help RCB win the game is an experience he'd narrate to his grandkids.

IPL 2021 is here and the underdogs have come alive!

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