The rise of Rahul Chahar
Rahul Chahar has begun IPL 2021 like a dream. In doing so, the Mumbai Indians leg-spinner has incidentally, carried on his form from the 2019 (13 wickets) and 2020 (15).
His role has been pretty clear from the Mumbai Indians management. The franchise bowling coach and New Zealand great Shane Bond looks at him as a wicket-taking bowling and for the third year in a row he seems to have lived up to the expectations. In fact, there is no dearth of talent in Chahar, as he can change the tide of the match on his own and has done it twice in IPL 2021 to help his team defend a low total.
Chahar relies mostly on his leg spin than googlies. The ratio of using leg-spinner in comparison to googlies, is in fact, 34:1 Much like Afghanistan star Rashid Khan, he also bowls flat and changes his line and length quite often, to deceive the batsmen. He has also used his armoury to good effect and risen as one of the most impactful bowlers in the Mumbai Indians setup which includes the likes of premier fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
On Saturday, at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Mumbai Indians were defending a modest total of 151 runs with SunRisers Hyderabad openers Jonny Bairstow and David Warner forging a 67-run stand for the first wicket. It, then, looked like the game was slipping away from the defending champions before Chahar was introduced and he worked his magic. The Bharatpur-born player dismissed Manish Pandey, Virat Singh and Abhishek Verma to unsettle the SRH batting line-up which looked like they would run away with the game.
Chahar also turned out to be the go-to bowler for Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma in their last match against Kolkata Knight Riders while defending a target of 153 runs. He was introduced in the ninth over of the match and bowled out by the 15, returning his career-best figures of 4/27, as KKR were all-out for 142 runs.
His form is also nothing short of a boost for the Indian cricket team ahead of the T20 World Cup.