Umesh has been executing plans to perfection: Parthiv

Umesh has been executing plans to perfection: Parthiv

Umesh Yadav

Umesh Yadav starred in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s confidence-boosting 10-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab on Monday. The seamer drew rich praise from his team-mate Parthiv Patel who believes he is now bowling at his best.

Yadav extracted good bounce and pace to remove the in-form Punjab openers K L Rahul and Chris Gayle within the powerplay. He finished with figures of 3-23, which included 15 dot balls, to earn the man of the match award. Yadav now has 17 wickets this season.

“He is bowling brilliantly. Against England, when I played, and Australia in the Test matches last year, there also he bowled brilliantly in those 17 home Test matches where he played. Now he is bowling at his best. He is now a part of all the formats in the Indian team,” said Patel, who slammed an unbeaten 22-ball 40, and along with captain Virat Kohli chased the modest target of 89 in 8.1 overs.

“He is thinking right, and more than that, whatever he is thinking, whatever he is trying to do, he is executing it very well. I have been a part of bowlers’ meeting. Whatever they have decided, whatever we have planned, he has been executing.”

RCB's all-round effort, which included high fielding standards, has boosted the team's Net Run Rate (-0.261 to 0.218). They now need to win their remaining two matches and keep their fingers crossed.

Patel said T20 is about momentum. “Indore is known as a high-scoring venue, and to finish off the game like we did it is very satisfying. Our bowlers set up the game brilliantly. We fielded very well as well. A few (three) run-outs here and there made a huge difference. When you are chasing 90, you have a chance of increasing our run-rate as well. That also we kept in mind,” he said.

Middle-order woes 

Punjab captain Ashwin conceded the middle-order has let them down.

“We have had a problem with our batting from the start. We don’t make enough runs. We have a problem in the middle-order. But the batsmen in the middle-order, like Aaron Finch or Marcus Stoinis, they are good batsmen. Maybe they will perform when it matters,” Ashwin said.

Punjab now face must-win situations in the remaining two games. “We are not one of the top champion sides. We are one of those sides who punched our way above our weight in the first half of the competition. I did expect a run like this to happen to us but not this much. Probably we could have won a game or two more and already got to 14 or 16 points,” he said.

Punjab are also likely to miss their key spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who didn’t feature on Monday due to injury. “Mujeeb’s injury status is quite bad. He has got a swollen thumb and a wrist injury of sorts in the right hand. You can’t risk someone like that to play a game,” Ashwin said.