Following his side’s 13-run loss to Punjab Kings (PBKS) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match, Mumbai Indians (MI) head coach Mark Boucher backed medium-pacer Arjun Tendulkar, who delivered a game-changing over in the match when he was hit for 31 runs by the duo of Sam Curran and Harpreet Singh. Arshdeep’s fearless final over sealed a 13-run victory for Punjab Kings against Mumbai Indians at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023.
Arjun was used in the middle overs instead of an experienced spinner Piyush Chawla and was hit really hard by PBKS batters. On this move and Arjun’s expensive over, Boucher said during the post-match press conference, “I am sure you know Rohit Sharma is a very experienced cricketer and probably felt at that particular stage, I think it was the 14th or 15th over that Arjun bowled. He probably felt that there was a bit of a matchup at that stage of the game. That is a decision that he made out there.”
“Sometimes it may go your way and sometimes they do not go. Unfortunately, tonight it did not go his way. In hindsight, you probably look at PC (Piyush Chawla) and say yeah, you should have bowled these overs, but sometimes the matchups do not work. That is just the nature of T20 cricket. So no issues there. And then, for Arjun, it will be tough on him coming at the back end and bowling at the Wankhede.”
“As I said, the conditions are good to bat on. He maybe got one or two wrong and they went the full distance. He probably felt like he is under a bit of pressure towards the end. But yeah, he’ll live and learn from it. I wouldn’t say early days, but it is midway through the IPL and hopefully, he can come back stronger. It’s how you get up the next morning to conquer those sorts of mishaps that you have and with the full support of not only the support staff but the team, one can try and get over this as quickly as possible and get back on the horse,” concluded Boucher.
Arjun ended with a spell of 1/48 in three overs with an economy rate of 16. He has the second-most expensive over by an MI bowler in IPL, next to Daniel Sams, who gave away 35 runs against KKR. On his side’s loss, Boucher said, “We move on. The effort was high but the return was not as expected. But like we always do, a loss is a learning curve to come back stronger in the next game.”
“I thought the game was in the balance. I thought we batted really well tonight. Maybe they did get too many runs which is disappointing. Because I think that, overall, if I look at the game, we had control for some percentage of the game, but let it slip towards the end of our bowling,” added the coach.
On Jofra Archer’s return to the side, the coach had an optimistic response. “I thought Jof bowled us some good pace. He landed a couple of yorkers. The wicket was good to bat on and thus, we knew it was going to be a tough night for our bowlers. For that, I think for his first outing, we will take it. Hopefully, he is not feeling any pain tomorrow and he can be up and running and put his name in the selection for the next game. It is always good to see Jof running in at full pace so we are grateful for that,” said the coach.
In his second game for the side, Archer took 1/42 in four overs with an economy rate of above 10. Talking about Suryakumar Yadav’s return to form, the coach said that it is nice for him to get runs and even when he was not scoring, he was hitting the ball well during the nets and it was just a matter of time before he came good.
“It is always nice for Suryakumar Yadav to get some runs. His form is a funny thing, as sometimes you judge it by the numbers. He has been hitting the ball really well in the nets and it was just a matter of time before he translated that into runs. So, I am very happy for him,” he said.
“He will feel very comfortable. For Mumbai Indians, having him in some good form, hitting the ball so sweetly and playing the sort of devastating innings he did tonight, bodes well for the future for us going forward,” added Boucher.
Boucher was also all praises for the spin veteran Piyush Chawla, calling him a “big weapon” for the side and saying that he has been enjoying his game after years of not getting many opportunities. “He was not given a bit of opportunity previously, but now he seems to be enjoying himself. He is doing very well for us so he is a big weapon for us at the moment.”
“Hopefully, he can keep continuing with his form. He bowled really well tonight, as you said three overs, but as I explained there are certain decisions that get made in the field that some are unhappy with. But I think he is in a good space and that is good enough for us,” added the coach.
At the age of 34, the spinner was picked up at last year’s auction for Rs 50 lakh and the move is paying rich dividends to his side. He has taken nine wickets in six matches at an average of 17.55 and an economy rate of 6/86. His best bowling figures are 3/22 and is in the ninth bowling charts so far. He is the leading wicket-taker for MI this season so far. MI won the toss and opted to field first against PBKS. PBKS inning ended at 214/8 in their 20 overs. Sam Curran (55 in 29 balls with five fours and four sixes), Harpreet Singh (41 in 28 balls with four boundaries and two sixes) and Atharva Taide (29 off 17 balls with three fours and a six) were among the top batters for Punjab.
Piyush Chawla (2/15 in three overs) was the pick of the bowlers for MI. Cameron Green also took 2/41 in his four overs. Jofra Archer, Jason Behrendorff and Arjun Tendulkar got one scalp each. Chasing 215, MI lost Ishan Kishan early, but a 76-run stand for the second wicket between skipper Rohit Sharma (44 off 27 balls with four boundaries and three sixes) and Green brought MI back into the game. Green, who scored 67 off 43 balls with six fours and three sixes also stitched a 75-run stand with Suryakumar Yadav (57 off 26 balls, seven fours and three sixes) for the third wicket.
But PBKS and Arshdeep (4/29) in particular delivered excellently in the death overs to win the match by 13 runs for PBKS. Sam Curran won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his half-century. With this win, PBKS is in the fifth position with four wins and three losses in seven matches and a total of eight points. MI is at seventh position with three wins and three losses in six games and a total of six points.
Brief Scores PBKS: 214/8 (Sam Curran 55, Harpreet Singh 41, Piyush Chawla 2/15) won over MI: 201/6 (Cameron Green 67, Suryakumar Yadav 57, Arshdeep Singh 4/29).