There are moments in the careers of even seasoned journalists when you just fasten your seat belts and watch in admiration at the sheer beauty of what’s happening before you.
Umran Malik’s blistering spell of speed, skill and precision on a batting paradise on Wednesday night in the Tata-IPL was one such occasion. The run-up, the load-up, the explosive release and the scary pace generated signalled a star was born. India needs to look no further for its pace bowling enforcer in World Twenty20.
The Sunrisers paceman showed his more illustrious compatriots how it is done on such heart-breaking tracks.
You just beat them with air speed. His rapidly travelling yorkers with swing and accuracy defeated the batters for speed. It was simple, slick, and exciting. And he softens them up with his vicious short-pitched deliveries that threaten the limbs of the batters.
Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha and David Miller, all internationals, heard the death knell of the timber before they could bring the bat down.
The 22-year-old Umran’s five for 25 has to be among the great fast bowling displays in the IPL; and all this amidst a mountain of runs when one team made 195 and the other chased it down. Umran wasn’t the only hero on that dramatic Wednesday night. Gujarat Titans’ Rahul Tewatia, the left-hander with the right attitude, conjured a gem, a 21-ball unbeaten 40.
A power hitter, the stocky Tewatia has the knack of collecting his initial runs almost unnoticed by working the ball around before launching into the bowling making light of the asking rate. And the wristy customer with tremendous bat speed has all the shots, the pick-up stroke, the booming straight hit, the ferocious cut and slash between point and cover, the pull and the ramp shot.
Importantly, Tewatia, who has destroyed careers of a few Caribbean pacemen in the IPL with brutal onslaughts at the Death, is ice cool with his temperament.
With M. S. Dhoni in the evening of his career, Tewatia can be the new Finisher. Another strong candidate for World Twenty20.
Umran and Tewatia pose a clear and present danger to the opposition.