The Kings XI Punjab would be letting out a sigh of relief that they have Ryan Harris to provide the much-needed venom to their bowling attack in the crucial clash against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.
Flying in after completing national duty in the Caribbean, Harris first did some light jogging on Tuesday while his teammates engaged in an intense net session. Showing no signs of rustiness, the Aussie then thundered in to bowl as if he was continuing with the spell in Dominica.
Soon, he had the batsmen playing and missing, as the men with the willow found it difficult to get used to his pace and bounce.
His return to the fold has come as a relief as the bowling seemed to lack spark. What can one expect from a team’s bowling unit when their strike bowler, the only regular at the international level, has struggled? That has been the case with Kings XI and India pacer Praveen Kumar.
The team would have felt better had his three wickets off nine games come with economical spells, but 7.68 runs per over is worrying.
While Dimitri Mascarehnas and Azhar Mahmood have impressed in the four games they have played, it has been up to Parvinder Awana to slip into the strike bowler’s role. And the 25-year old from Delhi has done well but without much support from the other end.
Amongst the spinners, Piyush Chawla has been amongst wickets, but he has been guilty of leaking runs at crucial junctures, like in the game against the Mumbai Indians at Mohali.
For the Kings to build on the upset win over the Super Kings at Chennai, a lot will depend on the effect Harris has.
Bangalore, who were on a three-match winning streak, seem to have lost the momentum with the washed out game against the Super Kings in Bangalore. Subsequently, they lost to KKR in Kolkata.
However, they would be looking to make use of their strong batting to get back to winning ways.