IMAGE: Akash Madhwal turned in match-winning figures as Mumbai Indians handed Lucknow Super Giants a crushing defeat at the M A Chidambaram stadium in Chennai, May 24, 2023. Photographs: BCCI
There was just one name on everyone’s lips after Mumbai Indians clinched a crushing 81 run win over Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2023 Eliminator game.
Mumbai Indians, the most successful IPL franchise, has moulded several stars over the years. Though the start of MI’s IPL 2023 campaign was rocky and their entry into the play-offs wasn’t easy, Mumbai had young cricketers putting up their hand throughout the season even as their regulars found it tough.
Heading into the season, one of the biggest concerns for Mumbai was missing senior bowler Jasprit Bumrah. But marching into Friday’s Qualifier 2 match at the N D Modi stadium in Ahmedabad, the Rohit Sharma-led side had overcome that trouble and how!
The answer to MI’s troubles — Akash Madhwal!
IMAGE: Akash Madhwal has become Rohit Sharma’s go-to bowler.
MI were dependant on Bumrah and Jofra Archer, on whom the Mumbai franchise had spent a fortune. While Bumrah needed back surgery, Archer’s comeback was underwhelming, before he was ruled out of the season with injury.
The former champs started off with two straight losses. But Rohit Sharma, who personally has had an off season, once again marshalled his troops as they rallied to enter the knockouts.
Heading into the Eliminator, in the last three MI games, Madhwal had given signs of his breakout performance, having picked up seven wickets at an economy of 8.2.
IMAGE: Akash Madhwal picked up five wickets in the Eliminator.
Not the typical next-door budding cricket, Madhwal is a civil engineer for whom the sport was just a hobby. Watching him in the second half of this season, one would find it tough to believe that the 29 year old used to play tennis ball cricket until four years ago.
Till the age of 24, Madhwal hadn’t played with a red ball until he caught the attention of then Uttarakhand coach Wasim Jaffer and current coach Manish Jha during trials in 2019.
Madhwal is the first cricketer from the Uttarakhand state team to play the IPL — Rishabh Pant, a native of Uttarakhand, plays for Delhi in domestic cricket.
After Naveen-ul-Haq’s four-fer saw Mumbai post a probable 15-run short total at Chepauk, Madhwal turned the screws to crush Lucknow.
From 69/2, Lucknow was reduced to 101 all out. And leading the way was Madhwal. The Uttarakhand captain, who came into the side in the previous IPL as Suryakumar Yadav’s injury replacement, turned in sizzling figures of 5/5 in 3.3 overs.
Not only a stellar five wicket haul, he also had a stunning economical spell, bowling at 1.42 per over.
IMAGE: The Uttarakhand cricketer’s five-wicket haul saw him bag the Player-of-the-Match award.
Madhwal’s wicket haul included Prerak Mankad (3), Ayush Badoni (1), Nicholas Pooran (0), Ravi Bishnoi (3) and Mohsin Khan (0).
Apart from Madhwal, Chris Jordan and Piyush Chawla picked up a wicket each, while MI effected three run outs.
MI take on defending champions Gujarat Titans on Friday for a place in the final.