Twenty-20 might be a batsman dominated form of cricket, but by using the mechanism to measure the distance of each sixer and flashing it on the screen, the authorities might be rubbing salt into the bowlers’ wounds. It is like telling the bowlers, “Gentlemen, thanks for coming.”
As if standing up for their ilk, three bowlers sent out a strong message by picking a hat-trick each in the third leg of the IPL. Laxmipathy Balaji, Amit Mishra and Makhaya Ntini all proved that they were there to play more than be the supporting cast. Given the compressed nature of the game, it is a remote probability that a bowler picks three wickets in his spell, leave alone off successive balls. But when it does happen, the rare phenomenon has a definite impact on the outcome of the match.
That’s exactly what happened in each of the above three instances. Balaji couldn’t have claimed his hat-trick at a more appropriate time. Having gone off national reckoning in the past two years owing to injury, the Tamil Nadu man bowled a deadly spell against Mohali.
He exploited the unusual bounce offered by the track at MA Chidambaram stadium, peppering the batsmen with short-pitched deliveries. As it were, his hat-trick was just a consequence of some good seam bowling.
Mishra too made the selectors take note of him with his final over exploits against Hyderabad. His variation bamboozled the Hyderabad batsmen and bowled Delhi to a crucial win.
Ntini’s was a professional performance. With the Chennai team finding itself short of bowling resources, it was imperative for the South African to deliver. He did just that at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.