Seamer Akash Madhwal’s record-breaking five-wicket haul helped five-time champion Mumbai Indians beat Lucknow Super Giants without breaking sweat in the IPL-16 Eliminator match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday.
With the 81-run win taking it into the Qualifier-2 against Gujarat Titans, MI will back the level-headed Madhwal to step up after he recorded the first five-for (five for five) in a Playoffs match, incidentally also the joint-best IPL figures ever by an Indian.
Madhwal has emerged as MI’s interim answer to spearhead Jasprit Bumrah’s absence. “It’s not like I have taken Bumrah bhai’s spot. I am just trying to perform to the fullest. I have a slightly slinging action, so I was pitching the ball on hard lengths to extract wickets,” Madhwal said after Super Giants had been budled out for the lowest Playoffs total (101).
Handed the limited-overs captaincy of Uttarakhand from the 2022-23 domestic season, the 29-year-old Madhwal said the leadership stint had helped him improve his on-field nous.
“Captaining was not an easy task. The workload increases. I was not overwhelmed, but I had a lot to learn from the experience. Earlier, I used to view the game only as a bowler. But as a captain, I have become analytical of the conditions,” he said.
Enjoying the challenge
Madhwal’s starry spell took the sheen off Super Giants pacer Naveen-ul-Haq, who drowned out constant “Kohli, Kohli” chants from the crowd with a career-best four for 38.
The Afghan relished the underdog challenge despite the defeat. “I enjoy it. I like the crowd chanting his (Virat Kohli’s) or any other player’s name. As a professional, you have to take these in stride. One day you don’t perform, the fans will give it to you, and the next day you do a special thing, the same people will chant your name,” Naveen said.