Jaydev Unadkat - the ‘Supergiant’ in Pune’s march to IPL 2017 final
From escaping with the wooden spoon last year to the cusp of a title in IPL 2017, this is the story of Rising Pune Supergiant’s remarkable turnaround. The key factor behind their redemption and march to the final has been the wicket-taking exploits of a bowling ‘supergiant’ - Jaydev Unadkat.
The left-arm pacer has notched up brilliant numbers. In 11 games, he has taken 22 wickets at an average of 13.77 and a strike-rate of 11.4. Unadkat needs five wickets to overhaul Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s tally of 26 wickets in 14 games and become the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2017.
What makes Unadkat’s numbers remarkable has been his ability to take wickets in any situation. From providing an early breakthrough at the top to being excellent at the death, the left-arm seamer’s spells have given Rising Pune Supergiant the advantage to dictate the terms of the match.
Death overs exploits
Unadkat’s sheer volume of wickets towards the fag end of the match has made him a different bowler.
Two matches highlight Unadkat’s impact. In the first game against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium, Rohit Sharma’s team needed 17 off the last over and the skipper had crossed 50.
However, the left-arm bowler held his nerve to dismiss the dangerous Hardik Pandya and Rohit to help Rising Pune Supergiant to a three-run win. The victory gave the team momentum and they went on to win the next six out of seven games.
Against last year’s champions Sunrisers Hyderabad, Unadkat had to defend 13 off the last over. The left-armer responded brilliantly by taking a hat-trick in the final over. He finished with 5/30 and ended up bowling a triple-wicket maiden in the final over.
His efforts made him only the second bowler in IPL history to take two five-wicket hauls. This haul gave Rising Pune Supergiant the belief to win anywhere.
Giving early breakthroughs consistently
In addition to death overs, Unadkat has provided an early breakthrough in some games. Against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, he got rid of Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir’s trump pinch-hitter for 0. KKR never got going as Rising Pune Supergiant registered their first win against them.
In the final league game against Kings XI Punjab, the 25-year-old pacer dismissed Martin Guptill first ball in what was a shoot-out for the play-off spot. The dismissal dented Kings XI Punjab’s confidence and they were dismissed for 73, their lowest IPL total.
Before IPL 2017, Unadkat had limited opportunities to showcase his skills. Playing for Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Unadkat did not achieve huge success.
“Probably that hunger to do well was the difference from the past couple of seasons. It’s just about capitalising on it. In the past, one bad game and I was out of the reckoning,” Unadkat has been quoted as saying.
After the hat-trick against Sunrisers Hyderabad, captain Steve Smith was full of praise for Unadkat. “Unadkat is doing nicely and is bowling well upfront. He is taking key wickets at crucial times as well. Fantastic effort,” Smith said.
With all the success in IPL 2017 so far, Unadkat’s story could become sweeter if he plays a big hand in Rising Pune Supergiant securing the title.