Navdeep Saini castles Danushka Gunathilaka with 147.5 km/h ripper - WATCH
Not often do you pick up only 2 wickets for 18 runs and get the player of the match award. Then again, not often you clock speeds of over 145 km/h in 44% of your deliveries in a T20I and bemuse the opposition with a ‘head to toe’ tactics and pace variation like Navdeep Saini. Saini surprised the Sri Lankan batsmen with well-directed bouncers, pushed them with back with darting length deliveries of over 145 km/h and also landed toe crushing yorkers during the 2nd T20I at Indore. Saini was adjudged player of the match for his 2 for 18 which helped India take 1-0 lead by Beating Sri Lanka by 7 wickets on Tuesday.
Out of all Saini’s deliveries, which were mostly in the high 140s, the 147.5 km/h yorker that castled Danushka Gunathilaka, earned the most praise for obvious reasons. It was a kind of yorker that even Jasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah would have proud of. Full, straight and right in the blockhall of the batsman - Gunathilaka, who was already on the move, trying to make room for an over the top shot, was way too late and the ball crashed onto his stumps.
Saini in the final over also dismissed Bhanuka Rajpaksa with a well directed bouncer which was also in the high 140s but the fast bowler from Delhi said the wicket from yorker gave him more satisfaction.
“As soon as the match started, I thought the wicket was flat. I thought I can do well and wanted to gain confidence from this match. I bowled good yorkers today. Whenever I have heard Bumrah talk about bowling his yorkers, he always talked accuracy when you try to bowl the ball,” Saini later to teammate Yuzvendra Chahal in an interview.
“I want to achieve a yorker like Bumrah has.I was practising the yorker while playing Vijay Hazare Trophy. In limited-overs cricket, it is very important to bowl at the death. Also, I was playing Ranji Trophy, where you have to consistently hit one area, which helped a lot. You have to be mentally strong to execute anything. You may have practised less but if you have mental strength to bowl a particular ball to a batsman in an international match, that is the biggest plus point,” Saini had told Hindustan Times before the start of the series.
The hosts first restricted the islanders to a moderate 142/9 and then rode opener KL Rahul’s 45, Shreyas Iyer’s 34 and skipper Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 30 to overhaul the target with ease in 17.3 overs.
India will next take on Sri Lanka in the final T20I of the rubber at the MCA Stadium in Pune on January 10.