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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Explained: How T Natarajan’s yorker deceived the great AB de Villiers

In a slow-burning thriller, it was T Natarajan’s yorker from hell that took out AB de Villiers and stubbed out RCB’s IPL dreams.

Written by Vishal Menon | New Delhi | Updated: November 12, 2020 10:14:58 am
Thangarasu Natarajan, IPL 2020, EBC IPL 2020, AB de Villiers, RCB’s IPL dreams, Natarajan’s yorker, Virat Kohli, explained sports, express explained12 of the 16 wickets taken by Thangarasu Natarajan in this IPL have come in the Powerplay. (File)

In a slow-burning thriller, it was T Natarajan’s yorker from hell that took out AB de Villiers and stubbed out RCB’s IPL dreams. RCB had meandered to 111/5 in 17 overs but the star South African batsman was cruising on 55 and three overs of mayhem from him could have meant the difference between a match-winning total and a sub-par one.

But Natarajan prised him out to derail RCB, as they could only add 20 runs from the last three overs and settled for 131/7.

What did Natarajan do?

He produced a memorable yorker under pressure, one for the ages. Bowled cross-seam, it began from outside leg stump, even as it curled in and dipped viciously.

To counter it, de Villiers cleared his front leg and tried desperately to shovel it to the leg side but failed to connect. It landed on a leg stump line where his front leg was initially placed before he side-stepped, sneaked under the flailing wood, and crashed into the middle stump. de Villiers last moments with his feet and the bat suggested how good the ball was: the feet had moved out frantically and the bat came down at rapid pace as he tried to get some wood on leather, but it was not to be. The ball was too good even for the fastest hands in the business.

Thangarasu Natarajan, IPL 2020, EBC IPL 2020, AB de Villiers, RCB’s IPL dreams, Natarajan’s yorker, Virat Kohli, explained sports, express explained Natarajan dismissed AB de Villiers with a brilliant cross-seam yorker that curled from leg stump and rattled the star batsman’s middle stump.

How did the scrambled seam release help in the yorker?

There are a couple of reasons for bowlers to try out scrambled seam yorker. The first is better control, especially in wet or dew conditions. With the white Kookaburra ball, in particular, there is extra glue formation on the seam in wet conditions which leads it to slip out of hands.

In those scenarios, the bowlers tend to use scrambled seam, hold the ball across, as it helps in better grip. With a past-perpendicular release action of Natarajan, he can aim at leg stump with the scrambled seam and finish it at the off stump. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram

Or in other words, the scrambled seam helps the bowler in getting the ball in the direction where he wants. As there is less chance of ball swinging uncontrollably as it can with the seam-up.So, in essence, he has better control over its direction. Of course, when the bowler wants a swinging yorker (conventional or reverse), he will bowl it with seam-up and not cross-seam.

Also read | An IPL blockbuster starring: T Natarajan

Does the scrambled seam also help in getting the ball under the bat?

Yes, it can. This is useful if you fail to nail the yorker really full at the feet or base of stumps. Or if the batsman is standing so far inside the crease to try to get their bat under the ball to send it soaring up and over.

Scrambled seam sends the ball wobbling across and allows the possibility for it to land on its leather. As opposed on the seam. If the ball lands on the leather, on its sides, then the ball can skid on.

The pace generation off the pitch tends to be more, it tends to hurry the batsmen and most importantly, can stay low and not make it easy for the batsmen to get under the ball. Natarajan bowls it both ways. In the match against Delhi Capitals, he had trapped Marcus Stoinis lbw with a seam-up yorker.

Read | SRH’s Thangarasu Natarajan is son of daily-wager, tea-stall owner

Were there any blemishes in Natarajan’s performance against RCB?

Natarajan’s start had been far from perfect. He conceded 13 runs in his opening over and struggled initially with his line and length. His attempted yorkers would either turn into low full tosses or land in the slot for batsmen to free their arms.

Thankfully for SRH, Natarajan returned in the crucial 18th over to nail the perfect yorker to turn the game on its head.

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