Knuckle ball my most powerful weapon in T20s - Tye
Making his IPL debut on Friday, Gujarat Lions fast bowler Andrew Tye gave ample evidence of why the knuckle ball is the most potent delivery in his repertoire. He came on to bowl the final over of the Powerplay, after Rising Pune Supergiant had raced to 60 for 1 in five overs, and stalled the opposition by conceding four runs and taking the wicket of a well-set Rahul Tripathi. He returned in the 13th over to pick up Ben Stokes' wicket and, charged with bowling the 18th and 20th overs, Tye gave away only 10 runs and took a hat-trick in the final over.
Over 60% of Tye's deliveries were knuckle balls bowled at slower than 120 kph, and he got four of his five wickets off that delivery. The only bowler to take a hat-trick and five-for on IPL debut, Tye's 5 for 17 was crucial in giving Lions the first win of the season. The hat-trick was his second of 2017, the first coming for the Perth Scorchers in a Big Bash League match against the Brisbane Heat.
"It has probably taken me five-six years to get to the stage where it [the knuckle ball] is today," Tye told iplt20.com "I have practised it hard and have practised with the right intent. Now, it is my most powerful weapon in T20 cricket.
"Unlike the hat-trick I took in the Big Bash, I actually knew it was a hat-trick ball. It came out perfectly as sometimes you try too hard and it just doesn't go right. You always go back to your run-up and think 'What ball am I going to bowl?' I had decided I'd bowl a slower ball before I ran in. I was able to get it on the stump and the batsman missed it."
Although his debut came only on Friday, Tye isn't exactly new to the IPL scene, having spent two seasons on the sidelines of franchises. Bought by Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2015 auction, and by Gujarat Lions a year later, Tye spent a considerable amount of time bowling to international batsmen in the nets and this, he believes, has allowed his game to develop quite well.
"Even if you are not playing, India is a great place to develop your game and learn from the best players in the world. Playing with the international players and the Indian players, my cricket has really come on. It only leads to the development of your game.
"This morning our Coach Hodgy (Brad Hodge) told me 'Get set to play. You're definitely playing'. To get a wicket in the first over settled me down. I came here with nothing to lose. When you've waited that long for a chance, you got to take it. I was happy the way I came out and performed tonight."