Rising Pune Supergiant v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2017, Pune May 14, 2017

Thakur KO's his former team

Seamer Shardul Thakur returned career-best T20 figures of 3 for 19 to put Rising Pune Supergiant in the playoffs and end Kings XI Punjab's campaign

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Agarkar: Thakur gives Pune better balance

Star turn

Shardul Thakur was bought by Kings XI Punjab in 2014, and was given a solitary game over the next three seasons. Midway through the 2016 season, he was released from the squad. A frustrated Thakur took to Twitter and posted: "Will play a semifinal t20 game tomorrow for my club payyade sc..playing a game after 2 months..ipl has done wonders .. Certainly"

After the auction in February this year, Rising Pune Supergiant acquired the seamer from Kings XI. He might have felt a sense of déjà vu after being ignored for Rising Pune's first three matches of the season. Since then, however, he has played in 10 out of the side's 11 matches.

Thakur's canny pace and length variations were central to Rising Pune defending 161 against Royal Challengers Bangalore - the lowest total defended by a vising side at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in the IPL.

His bowling smarts resurfaced in a knockout bout against his former franchise Kings XI Punjab in Pune, where the last playoff spot was at stake.

Having won an important toss, Rising Pune captain Steven Smith chose to bowl on a damp pitch. Thakur quickly assessed the conditions, and bowled a slew of cross-seamers. Two of his three wickets were down to cross-seamers that stuck in the surface. In his second over, Thakur had Shaun Marsh spooning a catch to mid-off, and then tucked Rahul Tewatia up early in the sixth over.

Three balls later, he had Glenn Maxwell flicking a catch to deep square leg to leave Kings XI at 32 in 5 inside the first six overs. Kings XI would eventually crash to 73 all out - their lowest total in the IPL. Thakur might have thought: "Take that."

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The wow moment

The ball before the dismissal of Marsh. Thakur sent down a 140kph cross-seamer outside off, which burst from a length and beat the top edge of Marsh's attempted square cut. It was, perhaps, a warning to watch out for another cross-seamer or refrain from hitting on the up, but Marsh did not pay attention.

Stats that matter

  • Thakur's returns of 3 for 19 was his best in T20 cricket.This was the second time he had taken three wickets in 28 T20 matches.
  • His 3 for 14 was the third-best performance in the Powerplay this season.
  • He bowled 16 dots in his four-over spell.

What they said

"The cross-seamers were working and it [the ball] was sticking in the pitch. The fielders were brilliant. I, personally, was sweating in the palms in the team bus before the match."
Shardul Thakur on his mindset

"It was a nice day, wasn't it? The bowlers did a terrific job. Shardul was outstanding."
Enough said Steven Smith

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Des_65 on May 15, 2017, 11:15 GMT

    Thakur is unlucky. He was selected for India's tour of the WI. But never got to play a single test match. He was in form (Ranji matches) during that time.

  • Oldtimer01 on May 15, 2017, 8:34 GMT

    Agree completely with Manav Batra (especially the Kapil Dev bit). However would be good for Thakur to add some variations and perhaps a overseas stint to develop further.

  • CricketChat on May 15, 2017, 0:56 GMT

    Well done Thakur! It always feels good when you do well against your former team, especially, when they didn't treat you well before they you go.

  • ALLROUNDCRICKET on May 14, 2017, 19:43 GMT

    Bewildering how he was ignored at the start of the auctions! As someone who has been in the India squad , picked up 5 fors for India A in Australia.

    He could add some cutters, a yorker and a slower ball for variety. He does have a god seam position though.

    KXIP have a weak bowling bowling attack where only Sandeep & Axar stood out.

  • BigINDFan on May 14, 2017, 18:05 GMT

    This is funny, Thakur finally found a team that values him and RPS may not exist next year :-)

  • Manav_Batra42 on May 14, 2017, 16:36 GMT

    Happy for Thakur! He does have a lot of talent and should play for India. KXIP doesnt mind not winning one IPL for 20 years as long as they can play some players from Punjab/Haryana. KXIP has always been pathetic and its performance has been slap on players like Kapil Dev who had once exclaimed that only their region(Read - Punjab and Haryana) can produce good fast bowlers. Well Sharmas are anything but good. Cricinfo PLZ publish

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