GT Vs SRH: A Fifer From The Raw Pace Sensation Umran Malik Fails To Sink The Titanic!

This really promised to be one of the most fiercely competitive matches of IPL-2022, at least for me as this involved possibly the two best teams of the tournament—the newbies sensation Gujarat Titans (GT) and the resurgent veterans Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Wankhede stadium Mumbai on 27th April 2022. And it did indeed prove to be a down-the-wire thriller with the raw pace of fast bowling, power batting and intense body language in the field. It had the classic ups and downs for both teams all throughout. Put into bat by GT, Hyderabad was reduced to 147/4 in the 17th over, but a power-hitting display by Shashank Singh of 25 not out in the 6 balls of the last over took SRH to a challenging score of 195/6. In the chase after GT got off to a good start with a brilliant innings of 68 runs in 38 balls by Wriddhiman Saha, the 5/25 burst of the raw-pace-sensation Umran Malik happened reducing GT to 140/5, needing 56 runs in 24 balls to win. Then, the best power batting display of the match between Rahul Tewatia (40 not out in 21) and Rashid Khan (31 not out in 11) took the match away from SRH. Still needing a difficult 22 runs in the last over Rashid Khan hit two sixes in the last two balls (total 4 sixes) preventing Umran’s fifer from being decisive and achieved an incredible victory for the GT by five wickets.


With this victory the GT has continued to occupy the top position in the points table, now with 14 points winning 7 out 8 games and almost through to the play-offs. This win has stopped the 5-win run of the resurgent SRH bringing them to the third spot remaining on 10 points winning 5 out of 8 games. The second spot is occupied by the Rajasthan Royals (RR) with 12 points after routing the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on 26th April.


In the thriller between GT and SRH there are two interesting coincidental turning points—25 runs conceded in the last over by GT’s Lockie Ferguson giving the SRH a boost while SRH’s Marco Jansen conceding 25 runs in the last over handing over victory to the GT. In fact, the normally reliable fast bowler Ferguson for GT made it difficult for his team giving away 52 runs in 4 overs without a wicket while the equally lethal Marco Jansen for SRH went wicketless for 63 runs in 4 overs letting his team down.


The player of the match Umran Malik for his fifer of 5/25 in 4 overs, uprooting the stumps of three with perfect yorkers,  is a 22-year-old cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir, only the fourth to make it to national cum international cricket from the disturbed state, and has been the hot topic of discussion in IPL-22 for his consistently 145+ km speed and going over the 150 km mark several times in his team’s rout of the RCB. He has bowled his fastest ball at 153.3 km in this version of the IPL, just behind Lockie Ferguson’s 153.9 km. Comparisons of Umran have been already been started by cricket pundits with the likes of Waqar Younis, Shaun Tait, Mitchell Starc, Lockie Ferguson, Marco Jansen, Mitchell Johnson, Shane Bond and others. Most significantly, Umran is the new face of Indian cricket in terms of sheer pace as the other fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav have gone past the 145+ km mark only occasionally.


However, the pundits maintain that only raw pace is not enough, line and length more important to make the raw pace effective. Perhaps Umran got the point as initially not among the wickets he has now got into the act by achieving a fifer. There is hardly any doubt that he’s sure to be a part of Team India, even if not included in the final eleven soon enough. Some commentators have also seen him as the future of Indian cricket.


There are five bowlers who have breached or nearly breached the 100 miles mark—Shoaib Akhter has bowled the fastest ever at 161.3 km; followed by Brett Lee and Shaun Tait at 161.1 km each; Jeff Thomson at 160.6 km; and 160.4 km by Mitchell Starc. And, of course, not to forget the fiery West Indies fast bowlers of yore. The way he is going Umran can very well attain the heights set in world cricket. Umran began his cricket career in domestic cricket in January 2021, then he was a replacement bowler for SRH in IPL-2021 and played a few matches in the second leg of the tournament.


Meanwhile, a gloomy cloud seems to loom over Virat Kohli because of his prolonged lean patch, particularly the last two humiliating losses for his team RCB. His earlier team coach cum friend Ravi Shastri has advised him to take a break so that he can prepare himself well for the upcoming ICC Cricket T20 World Cup-2022. The legendary player that he is Kohli can come back to roaring form anytime soon. However, taking a rest from the IPL is not a bad idea since he has been playing non-stop cricket since the last two years without a break and under the tiring bio-bubble restrictions and isolation.


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