Harshal Patel was told well in advance that he will be a death overs’ pointsman for Royal Challengers Bangalore, a role he played to perfection in the IPL opener against Mumbai Indians at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. Harshal’s career-best 5 for 27 was one of the two match-winning performances for RCB with the other coming from AB de Villiers.
When I was traded from Delhi Capitals, I was told what role I will play for the franchise, the Haryana pacer said at the post-match press conference on Friday.
He was brilliant at the death and just like skipper Virat Kohli said, Harshal also knew that he is expected to perform the tough job for which he had planned meticulously.
There were clear instructions that I will be bowling in the last two overs – he bowled 18th and 20th. That gave me a lot of clarity. It helped me prepare certain plans against batters and kept my preparations concise.
Harshal said that change of pace and the slow yorkers have been his biggest strength. The ball started reversing at one stage. It was important to bowl the Yorkers and slower balls, he said.
According to Harshal, he has been bowling those slower Yorkers that got rid of Ishan Kishan and Marco Jansen, for almost two seasons now.
Just that when you don’t get wickets of slow yorkers, people don’t tend to see that. I always had the yorker but earlier couldn’t take it into the game.
He did a lot of simulation of bowling yorkers during training session to get it right during the match.
In the past 15-20 days, I was trying to put myself into situations. Having played a lot of IPL cricket, he understands how the situation can turn from good to bad.