Lucknow Super Giants pacer Avesh Khan changed the course of the game with a double-wicket 18th over to keep the Sunrisers Hyderabad winless in IPL 2022. Chasing 170 at the DY Patil Stadium, the Sunrisers looked well in control of the situation at the end of the 16th, needing 33 from 18 deliveries with a set Nicholas Pooran and Washinton Sundar motoring them towards what seemed like a gettable target up until that point.
Enter Avesh. He banged the ball short to start his over and was meted out expected treatment, with Pooran dispatching him for an 85-meter hit towards the deep square leg fence. But Avesh, who made his reputation as a successful death bowler in the 2021 IPL, when he tallied second in the wicket-taking charts with 24 wickets in 16 games, was not deterred as he brought out his speciality to the forefront to inflict an unlikely collapse.
Avesh followed up with yorker and then delivered his side with two wickets to turn the game on its head. He had Pooran holing out to long off on an attempted yorker that ended up being a full toss before inducing a faint edge for a caught behind from Abdul Samad, who bagged a golden duck, on the immediately succeeding delivery. Romario Shepherd did well to jab down at a yorker to deny Avesh a hat-trick, but some tight bowling by Andrew Tye and Jason Holder in the final two overs meant LSG sealed a game they looked like having no business winning some time ago.
Meanwhile, Avesh was not amongst the wickets only towards the end overs – before being the death-over specialist, he was the powerplay performer for his team, landing two blows in the first six overs to peg the Sunrisers back at the start. He scalped Kane Williamson for a run-a-ball 16 as he tried to ramp him but could reach only as far as Andrew Tye at short fine, while he undid Abhishek Sharma with a slower one as the batter skied a catch to Manish Pandey stationed at cover.
Revealing his plan while speaking to the broadcasters at the post-match party, Avesh explained that he had his eyes on contributing with the ball in both powerplay and death. By the end of the game, he ended up checking both those boxes with a produce of 4/24. “The plan always is how I can pick up wickets in the power play and slog overs. I wanted to bowl the slower ball (Williamson’s dismissal) because we felt that the ball was gripping and holding on the surface,” he told Murali Karthik while receiving a well-deserved Player of the Match award.
Super Giants shelled out a whopping INR 10 crore at Avesh in the February auction, making him the most expensive uncapped buy in the IPL history. On the night of April 4, he made that expenditure look sensible.