RCB fast bowler Harshal Patel is on a roll. Already the Purple Cap holder, Harshal improved his stocks even further when he claimed a three-wicket-haul against Rajasthan Royals in Match 43 of IPL 2021 in Dubai. Harshal dismissed Riyan Parag, Chris Morris, and Chetan Sakariya in his last over and the final one of the innings, his performance playing a key role in restricting RR to 149/9, when at one stage, RR was cruising and looked good for 180.
Bowlers brilliantly set up Royal Challengers Bangalore´s comprehensive seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday. Rajasthan, cruising along at 91-1 by the halfway mark, was pinned down to 149-9 as spinners Shahbaz Nadeem and Yuzvendra Chahal grabbed four wickets between them. Harshal Patel, the tournament´s leading wicket-taker, stretched his wickets tally to 26 by claiming 3-34. The right-arm fast bowler even came close to his second successive hat-trick before claiming all his wickets off his last six deliveries.
Australian Glenn Maxwell made an unbeaten 50 off 30 balls and wicketkeeper-batsman Srikar Bharat scored 44 as Bangalore eased to 153-3 with 17 balls to spare. Rajasthan´s multi-million dollar signing Chris Morris was smashed for 50 off his four overs that included three fours and a six by Maxwell in the South African fast bowler´s last over. “We have come back strongly in two back-to-back games with the ball, which is a great sign,” Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli said. “In both games the opponents were 56-0 in the powerplay, but in both games we took wickets to ensure the opposition does not get away.”
Bangalore is third with 14 points and needs just one more win from its remaining three league games to go to the playoffs. Rajasthan is lurching at No. 7 with eight points from 11 games. Rajasthan seemed to set up a challenging total after West Indian opener Evin Lewis (58) smashed three sixes and five fours in his 37-ball half century. But Englishman George Garton, playing in his debut IPL game, removed Lewis in the 12th over when the batsman top-edged a pull shot to wicketkeeper Bharat.
Nadeem and Chahal then ran through the middle order and lower order before Patel provided a perfect finish by claiming three wickets in the last over of the innings. During his spectacular bowling performance, Harshal achieved two milestones –one for RCB and another one for himself in the IPL. With three wickets on Wednesday, Harshal took his wicket tally to 26 in the season, which not only is the most by an RCB bowler in a single edition of the IPL, but also for an uncapped bowler.
Before Harshal, both records belonged to leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who had grabbed 23 wickets for RCB back in 2015. Chahal held the record for six years before it went to his RCB teammate Harshal. After going wicketless in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders, which was RCB’s first in the second phase of the season, Harshal bounced back to claim 2/25 against Chennai Super Kings and 4/17 against defending champions Mumbai Indians, during which he claimed the first hat-trick of his life.
With two superlative records owned, Harshal is marching strongly towards the biggest of them all. The fast bowler is now only seven wickets short of going past veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo for the most wickets in an IPL season. Bravo’s 32 wickets in the year 2013 are the most any bowler has taken in a single edition. With RCB left with at least three more matches this season, Harshal could very well close in on Bravo’s feat, let alone better it, chances of which will grow stronger if RCB can enter the Playoffs.