Who can be Mumbai’s Naveen-ul-Haq? Ravi Shastri wanted Mumbai Indians (MI) to find their pace talisman when the former India head coach was commentating on Lucknow Super Giants’ (LSG) run-chase of the competitive target set by Rohit Sharma and Co. in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 Eliminator on Wednesday. The Afghanistan pacer was the wrecker-in-chief for the Krunal Pandya-led side at the Chepauk.
Asked to step into the big shoes of Jofra Archer at the IPL 2023 playoffs, young Akash Madhwal was MI’s answer to Naveen in the recently concluded encounter. Delivering the goods for the record-time champions, Madhwal managed to draw first blood in his first over. The Mumbai Indians pacer got the better of LSG opener Prerak Mankad (3) on the penultimate ball of the second over. He then turned the tie on its head in the 10th over.
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Madhwal, who was not introduced to red-ball till he was 24, bowled a game-changing over to shellshock Gautam Gambhir, the LSG mentor, along with the entire Lucknow dugout at Chepauk. Madhwal cleaned up Ayush Badoni (1 off 7 balls) in the fourth ball of the 10th over. The on-song pacer then bagged the jackpot wicket of Nicholas Pooran on the next ball. The West Indies power-hitter was handed a golden duck by Madhwal as Rohit’s MI reduced LSG to 74/5 before the end of the 10th over.
If Badoni was beaten for pace, Pooran was done in by the movement off the deck. The MI cricketers broke into wild celebrations but opposite scenes were witnessed in the LSG camp. When the cameras panned towards Gambhir, the former India opener was seen bearing a stunned look.
VIDEO: Akash Madhwal dismisses Badoni and Pooran in successive balls, shocks Gambhir
Madhwal ended up completing a match-winning five-wicket haul by dismissing Mohsin Khan and Ravi Bishnoi. With Madhwal calling all the shots, a crestfallen LSG side led by stand-in skipper Krunal Pandya folded for 101 to lose the Eliminator by 81 runs. Madhwal also matched Anil Kumble’s long-standing record for conceding the least runs while completing a five-wicket haul in IPL. Madhwal bagged five wickets and leaked only 5 runs to match Kumble’s incredible feat that he achieved against Rajasthan Royals in 2009.
Madhwal had joined MI as a replacement for Suryakumar Yadav last season. MI had roped in Madhwal at a price of INR 20 lakh. The 28-year-old pacer has picked up 13 wickets for Mumbai Indians in seven games this season. The MI pacer was also named the Player of the Match for his bowling masterclass against LSG. “I have been practicing a lot and waiting for my opportunity. I have done engineering, cricket is my passion and I have been waiting for this since 2018. When we practice in the nets, the management gives us the target and we try to execute our best. Hoping to do well in the coming games and want to end up as champions. The wicket of Nicholas Pooran was most pleasing for me,” Madhwal said after the match.