Much of Sunrisers Hyderabad's success in past seasons has been down to their potent bowling resources. At the 2018 IPL auction in January, the team management chose to further bolster that department with some smart acquisitions that included Shakib Al Hasan, who, with 45 wickets in 43 matches, is the among the five most successful left-arm spinners in the league. On his first day with the franchise, Shakib validated that belief with a superb performance against the returning Rajasthan Royals.
While 4-0-23-2 are extremely good figures in any T20, it's not eye-popping. But the value of Shakib's performance lay beyond the numbers. On a spicy Hyderabad surface, Shakib was introduced as early as in the fourth over, and conceded just 12 runs in the two overs he bowled in the Powerplay. His economy of 6.13 up until then was less than Royals' run rate of eight an over.
By the time Shakib returned, Royals had lost two more wickets, and the run rate had dropped to 7.00. A combination of his flight and skiddy, accurate deliveries left Royals having to milk ones and twos off him. Royals have historically tended to struggle in the middle overs, and Shakib, with a Smart Economy rate of 6.52 in the middle overs since IPL 2015, was just the kind of bowler Sunrisers needed at that stage.
Shakib bowled all his deliveries at the Royals top-order of Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi and Jos Buttler - two of those batsmen have an IPL career strike-rate of over 144 - and went at under six an over. And in his last over, he accounted for two of them - Tripathi and Samson in the space of four deliveries. That double-strike sent Royals into a freefall, as they lost six wickets for 31 runs, and ended with a well-below-par total.
The wow moment
The manner in which he dismissed Samson stood out. With the batsmen itching to get a move on, Shakib tossed up outside off and Samson fell for the bait. But with the ball drifting away from him, he had to reach out for it and sliced it in the air. The wicket was completed when Rashid Khan sprinted forward from sweeper cover and slid on his knees to hold on to a smart catch.
Shakib's smart economy rate of 4.85 on Monday was well below his conventional economy rate of 5.75. In all, he sent down nine dots and conceded just two fours.
Shakib bowled all of his deliveries to right-handed batsmen. Of the 24 balls Royals' batsmen faced from him, they were in control of their shots for only 16 of them.
Despite bowling to a set Samson, Shakib conceded only 14 runs off the 12 balls he bowled to the batsman, alongside dismissing him