A day after Muttiah Muralitharan’s ‘who-said-T20-is-not-for-spinners’ comment, his opposite number in the Mumbai Indians, Harbhajan Singh, demonstrated again how a slow bowler can be effective in the shortest format with the new ball. The offie opened the bowling with SA pacer Ryan Mclaren and bowled the second, fourth and sixth overs of the CSK innings on Tuesday.
His three-over spell in the power play cost only 16 and he got the wicket of the in-form Murali Vijay.
Harbhajan bowled 10 dot balls, including the wicket, in that spell and conceded only two boundaries and no sixes.
“Bowling in the power play is difficult, but as an experienced bowler you have to take the responsibility,” Harbhajan said after the Mumbai Indians lost by 24 runs. The plan, Harbhajan said, was to use a slower bowler against Matthew Hayden, who likes the ball to come on to his bat. “And I have had some success against him,” he said.
The first time Harbhajan was used in the power play during IPL III was when Mumbai hosted the Super Kings. Harbhajan came into the attack in the fourth over with the scoreboard reading 31/0 and promptly had Hayden leg before.
Harbhajan also bowled the first over against the Deccan Chargers and had Adam Gilchrist caught by Sachin Tendulkar. He then had two wicketless power play spells against the Kings XI and Chargers in the return match.
Harbhajan’s figures in power plays show that he has gone at only six-and-a-half-an-over even with only two fielders outside the ring. More importantly, he has sent back the danger men on three occasions.