Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2017, Hyderabad April 17, 2017

Bhuvneshwar keeps his head when others lose it

Bhuvneshwar Kumar's 5 for 19 overcame a sensational 95 from Manan Vohra

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Agarkar: Bhuvneshwar's increase in pace has helped his yorker

Star turn

There is a man hitting everything that moves. He might as well be in a western. On a pitch where even David Warner struggles to hit balls cleanly - batting through the innings for a strike rate of just 130 - Manan Vohra has connected almost everything cleanly. He scores 95 at a strike rate of 190 on a pitch where only 313 are scored in 40 overs. He has not only not allowed Rashid Khan a wicket in his first over, but he has also hit the flavour of the season for his most expensive over, and then gone ahead and bettered that over.

To keep his head when all around him are losing theirs turns up Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with figures of 2-0-7-2 and the purple cap on his head. He has taken a minimum of two wickets in each of the IPL matches so far, but he now knows he needs to at least double that tally. This is over 17, and Vohra has looted the last two overs for 41 runs, more than a quarter of the whole target. They now need just 35 in four overs, and Sunrisers seem they have forgotten this is a slow pitch on which stroke-making is not easy.

Bhuvneshwar comes back, and slowly reminds them, with a slower ball, getting Mohit Sharma caught at deep point. He tries a yorker next ball, but Vohra is quicker out of the holster. Bhuvneshwar goes to the slower ball, and this time Shikhar Dhawan drops a sitter. Bhuvneshwar keeps his head and pulls back two dots with slower balls to KC Cariappa. It's only 28 of 20, but Bhuvneshwar is keeping the lesser batsman on strike.

In the 19th over, with only 16 required, Bhuvneshwar concedes just five runs and takes two wickets to break Vohra's heart and turn it Sunrisers' way decidedly.

How Bhuvneshwar Kumar swung a thriller Sunrisers Hyderabad's way © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The wow moment

When you see the kind of hitting Vohra was indulging in, when you see him dropped twice, you can tend to resign. Bhuvneshwar, though, came back stronger from that drop. He saw Vohra was in that rare zone where he was connecting even the slower ones sweetly - first ball of the 18th over for example, when he pulled Siddarth Kaul over long-on. Bhuvneshwar and David Warner planned in the next over. They decided they needed a dead-eye yorker. Give him a single and keep the other man on strike, or get him out. On the third ball, Bhuvneshwar came up with a good'un, swinging in late, and headed for the base of the middle stump. Vohra gone. Match gone.

Stats that matter

  • This was Bhuvneshwar's maiden IPL five-for. He has taken 15 wickets in five matches so far

  • Bhuvneshwar is a terror to new batsmen: he has removed five batsmen in single digits this IPL, behind only team-mate Rashid's six such strikes

  • Bhuvneshwar's 5.4 an over is the third-best economy rate this IPL, and the best among quicks. Shahbaz Nadeem and Samuel Badree are the only ones stingier than him

What they said

"Look at Bhuvi. Fantastic death bowling. Upfront swing. Unbelievable. I could count on him. I back all my bowlers, but when you have Bhuvi in the shed, you have got to use him."
A grateful captain, David Warner

"Athletes often talk about believing in themselves. That is what I did. I have overcome that pressure. Because I have been doing this job for three-four years. I knew I had to bowl the 19th over."
Bhuvneshwar Kumar knows he is good

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anver on April 18, 2017, 9:24 GMT

    Well bowled !!! what a game changing over by hardworking and confident Bhuvi !!

  • satyab5325974 on April 18, 2017, 7:57 GMT

    With CT and then overseas tests, I hope Bhuvi gets a decent run next to Shami and Yadav. For the first time, we will have a solid trio of 140+ bowlers in a long time. If Zak can be bowling coach, it will be perfect

  • Asker on April 18, 2017, 6:58 GMT

    I have always loved this very unassuming guy Bhuvi- a performer par excellence, give the desired results when there is a need and see how much he has improved since his debut and compare him with Ishant who never seems to improve after being in the national setup for close to a decade, with the supposedly abundant talent which everyone goes ga ga over, i have been wondering they always talk about the potential of Ishant but of what use it is when it does not give results, I love his unassuming, calm nature and no over the top celebrations even in interviews he is just so down to earth and always keeps a smile on him at all times, but i can vouch that beneath that calm demanour and frail shoulders lies a man of steel, and a calculated aggression and a shrewd cricketing brain on his frail shoulders. I can say without an iota of doubt that we have two of the best death over bowlers in Bhuvi and Bhumra at the death overs. specially overseas we have a decent pace attack of 4 unlike earlier.

  • Brishni on April 17, 2017, 21:50 GMT

    His improvement is remarkable: added pace at 140 kmph and naili g yorkers at will while not sacrificing his swing and seam is Brilliant. Brilliant Bhuvi.

  • sreeha7911188 on April 17, 2017, 19:43 GMT

    Absolute Gem he is, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. An extremely underrated player and always an unsung hero in the Indian team. He never gets full run with the excuse of Indian pitches. But he has been the highest wicket taker cum most economical bowler on the same Indian pitches. That is extraordinarily phenomenal. He is the real match winner. Hats-off to Bhuvi.

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