Bangladesh ace pacer Mustafizur Rahman had a fairly decent outing for Rajasthan Royals against Delhi Capitals in the IPL match at Mumbai today but questions could be raised whether the pitch comes to his rescue more often these days given that his effectiveness is more and more is reliant on slower deliveries.
Fizz bagged a wicket each on his first and final overs while Jaydev Unadkat finished with three for 15 as Delhi reached 147 for eight in 20 overs.
The ball was gripping the surface as one of the two other left-arm pacer in the Rajasthan outfit in Jaydev Unadkat made early breakthroughs. Unadkat induced some faulty and premediated shots from openers Prithvi Shaw (2) and Shikhar Dhawan to contain Delhi early. Fizz came in the seventh over and started getting his cutters right, removing the dangerous Marcus Stoinis with one of his special slower deliveries – releasing it almost like a left-arm spinner -- as the right-hander checked his shot and was caught at extra cover by Joss Buttler for a duck as Delhi slumped to four for 37. Having conceded just a run in his first over, there were good signs that Fizz would make an impact. It was also his first wicket for his new team Rajasthan in the IPL.
Rishabh Pant's 32-ball 51 was the only bright speck in the Delhi innings. Fizz came back into the attack in the 17th over and his slower cutters continued to confuse, however his regular deliveries were not having the same effect, often the batsmen finding it on the slot. He directed his faster deliveries either too wide or too short, sometimes together.
Fizz would go onto bag the wicket of Tom Curran in his final over with another slower delivery. Rolling his fingers over the top of the ball, he directed it full on off stump. Curran looked to sweep but missed as Fizz finished with two wickets for 29 runs in his four overs.
Windies legend Brian Lara, who was commentating for Star Sports, dictated that the left-armer was relying on the slowers since his 'faster deliveries were being hit' for runs. Having conceded 45 runs without a wicket in his last game against Punjab Kings, Fizz might feel that he can finally get some footing in this IPL season after his decent showing. Questions would however remain whether his current reliance on slowers can only work in conducive pitches in the shortest format.
Mustafizur's Rajasthan started their chase terribly, losing five wickets for 42 runs inside 10 overs. While key stars Jos Buttler failed to fire with the bat, David Miller's 43- ball 62, laced with seven fours and two sixes, held the innings from crumbling. He took them closer but departed in the 16th over with seven wickets gone and lot of work still to do. It was Chris Morris, who turned hero for the Royals in the end with an 18-ball 36, hitting huge sixes in the 19th and 20th overs of the chase bowled by Kagiso Rabada and Curran respectively, to take Royals over the ropes with three wickets and two deliveries to spare.