Wanindu’s 5-wkt. haul in 2 overs ‘quite frankly ridiculous’
According to ESPN Cricinfo's Smart Stats, Wanindu Hasaranga was the MVP of the T20 World Cup. In the Super 12s, the Sri Lankan took ten wickets and conceded at just 5.84 an over.
At the Abu Dhabi T10, he is once again the most valuable player and an instrumental part of Deccan Gladiators' rise to the top of the leaderboard, as the tournament reaches its business end. Time and again, he has bamboozled the opposition with the ball in hand.
Hasaranga is the only man with a bowling average that is in single figures. He has 18 wickets thus far at 8.61 and the lowest economy rate at 8.15. Unsurprisingly, he is also the only bowler that has bowled a maiden in the competition. No one else really comes close.
On a day where two batters lit up the Zayed Cricket Ground with their ferocious hitting, Hasaranga ensured that this is a format where the bowlers can also shine with a five-wicket haul that destroyed the Bangla Tigers.
To pull off a five-wicket haul in any match is an achievement. To do it in two overs is quite frankly ridiculous.
In his first over, he dismissed Karim Janat before bowling Johnson Charles with a googly the very next delivery. Isuru Udana survived the hat-trick ball.
Hasaranga's second over was pure magic. Benny Howell attempted a reverse sweep but he found Tymal Mills at backward point. The following ball, James Faulkner played across the line, missing the ball entirely and was bowled.
Vishnu Sukumaran came out to face Hasaranga's fifth hat-trick ball of the tournament. He didn't last long either. Another three dot balls followed, before Sukumaran pulled one straight to the fielder.
Hasaranga had a five-for and the best figures in T10 history. Perhaps, even more impressively, he had a maiden in a T10 game. A triple-wicket maiden to be precise.
"I'm very impressed with Hasaranga," said his Deccan Gladiators coach and one of the greatest spinners of all time, Mushtaq Ahmed. "I've been talking with him about how to do his variations. He's got a good wrong-un, but he has to develop his leggies more. People are waiting for his wrong-un, but he's bowling more leg breaks and flippers and also he's developed his off spin against the left-hander.
"He's learning the trade, using the crease, taking the pace off the ball, all the little things we've been discussing. He is very open-minded and a really good listener,"
That he didn't get his fifth player of the match award of the competition was due to the explosive Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who played the innings of the tournament so far.
Kohler-Cadmore agonisingly fell four short of what would have been the first ever century of the Abu Dhabi T10. In 2019, Chris Lynn ended unbeaten with 91* off deliveries and no one had reached the nineties since. Kohler-Cadmore's brutal 96 off 39 will take some beating.
The 27-year-old went out to bat knowing that another low score could have meant trouble for his position, going into the play-offs. Aside from an unbeaten half-century against the Delhi Bulls earlier in the tournament, his next highest score was 12. He had managed just 46 runs in his last six innings, including a golden duck last time out.
After hitting a couple of boundaries off both Mohammad Amir and Luke Wood in the powerplay, Kohler-Cadmore needed a slice off luck when he was dropped on 24 off Faulkner, but he made his good fortune count. With Andre Russell at the other end, Kohler-Cadmore took centre stage with 12 fours and five sixes, before driving a full-toss in the last over to a diving Will Jacks at mid off.
Kohler-Cadmore said post-match that he decided to use one grip on his bat, as opposed the two that he had previously been using, and perhaps that was all he needed.
"I could have easily been left out today, but it gives you confidence knowing that they back you," said Kohler-Cadmore. "Getting dropped changed the innings for me - I think today was just my day, with that little bit of luck going my way,, like when I hit it in the air, it'd just go over the fielder."
The Yorkshire batter now has a slice of T10 history, but it was a bittersweet moment falling just short of becoming the first ever centurion.
"Obviously, it's a shame when you get that close to not get it (the hundred), but if you'd have asked me at the start of the game 'would you take 96', I'd have said, '100%', I'd take that and I'd have bitten your hand off for it," said Kohler-Cadmore.
Such a stunning knock made Hasaranga's spell look even more mesmerising. After Kohler-Cadmore made 96 himself, the Tigers were bowled out for just 78.
For Hasaranga, Kohler-Cadmore and the Gladiators, that next game will be a straight shoot-out on Friday for a place in the final against either Team Abu Dhabi or Delhi Bulls.
In the later game, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, just a few days after turning 20, hit the fastest 50 of the tournament. Gurbaz's blistering knock took just 14 deliveries, including five fours and six sixes as the Delhi Bulls hammered the Chennai Braves. They raced to a target of 81 in 25 deliveries and ended an abysmal campaign for the Braves.