Even after being purchased by the Kings XI Punjab, Azhar Mahmood wasn’t sure of playing in all the games, because initially he didn’t get a visa to play in cities other than Mohali and Delhi.
“He is really lucky to get an opportunity to play. He knows that and that is why one can see the effort he puts in every time he goes out,” Adam Gilchrist had said about Mahmood on the eve of the game against the Chennai Super Kings.
The Pakistani, who is now a British citizen, turned the game in his side’s favour with three wickets as the Kings XI beat Super Kings by seven runs.
Even as the visitors fell short by at least 20 runs while batting first and scoring 156, the 37-year-old all-rounder gave his side crucial breakthroughs to keep their hopes afloat in the tournament.
CSK openers Faf du Plessis and S Badrinath gave a decent start but Mahmood scalped both of them in his first two overs. What was noticeable was that he got all his experience into play and deceived the batsmen with change of pace.
The pressure created by Mahmood’s wickets led Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja into playing rash strokes, as spinners Piyush Chawla, skipper David Hussey and Bhargav Bhatt made full use of the slow Chepauk wicket. Though Dawyne Bravo and Albie Morkel tried their best with the bat, it wasn’t enough.
Morkel was also dismissed by Mahmood in the final over of the innings.
Was it a wide?
The second-last delivery of Mahmood’s over to Nuwan Kulasekara went down the leg side but wasn’t declared a wide.
This even led to an exchange of words between R Ashwin and Praveen Kumar.