When Arshdeep Singh was called upon to bowl the 16th over, Chennai needed 47 off the final four overs. In the previous over, Ambati Rayudu had whacked three successive sixes, and threatened to snatch the game away from Punjab Kings.
He may be only 23 but Arshdeep’s planning and execution at such crucial junctures are on par with some of the seasoned pacers. One thing was sure — his over was going to decide the fate of this match. He kept bowling low full toss well outside of Rayudu’s swinging arc, and the batter managed only two runs in three balls. For the other three balls that he bowled to Ravindra Jadeja, Arshdeep Singh kept targetting the batter’s leg. Only six runs came off this over, and Chennai batters found themselves under the pump.
Kagiso Rabada then got the better of Rayudu, and brought down the equation to 35 needed off the 12 balls. In his final over, Arshdeep conceded just eight runs, thereby giving a cushion of 27 runs for Rishi Dhawan, who was playing his first IPL game in five years, to defend in the final over.
Bowling in death overs is fraught with emotional turmoil, where the margin for error in line and length is minuscule. Arshdeep, however, has shown impressive mental fortitude on numerous occasions.
Punjab Kings’ skipper Mayank Agarwal showered praise on the 23-year-old for stepping up in clutch situations.
“I thought Arsh [Arshdeep] bowled exceedingly well,” Agarwal said in a post-match interview. “I must credit him. Throughout the season, he’s stood up in tough moments and he’s bowled the tough overs. He’s always put his hand up and said, ‘Give me the ball’. So he’s been great for us.”
Kagiso Rabada too lauded Arshdeep for his match-winning spell.
“I think Arsh has been the best death bowler in this competition,” Rabada told the host broadcaster after the match. “That’s what the stats say. He’s a youngster coming in. He’s got a lot of drive, a lot of ambition and he’s got talent as well. He’s just a good bloke. So it’s nice to have him around.”