IPL: Harshal Patel’s change in fortunes

Harshal Patel emerged as the leading death bowler for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2021 which was a surprise as he played just five matches for Delhi Capitals last year.

Harshal Patel first made an appearance in the IPL in 2012 for Royal Challengers Bangalore on the back of some good performances for Haryana in domestic cricket. He did an okay job in his first year, picking up 9 wickets from 12 matches at an average of 47.77 and an economy rate of 8.29 with the best of 2/24.

Patel hails from Gujarat and is a bowling all rounder who can also handle himself with the bat. Apart from having picked up 110 wickets from 100 T20 matches at an average of 24.36 and an economy rate of 7.85, he has also scored 791 runs at a strike rate of 151.66 and is a capable hitter lower down the order.

However, Patel was not able to make a mark with the bat in any of his initial IPL seasons. He wasn’t given a game in 2013 but played 3 matches to pick up four wickets for RCB in IPL 2014.

He had a breakout season in IPL 2015 when he picked up 17 wickets at an average of 19.29 and an economy rate of 7.48. His performances tapered off in the next couple of years and he went to Delhi Capitals, then Delhi Daredevils in 2018 and took 7 wickets for them.

The next couple of seasons did not go quite well for the bowling all rounder. Ahead of IPL 2021, Harshal Patel was traded from Delhi Capitals to Royal Challengers Bangalore and that proved to be a turning point in the career of the 30-year-old.

He was brilliant in RCB’s first match in IPL 2021 and his five wickets brought him the Man of the Match award.

“I was just focussed on my execution and the most important thing was to make use of my momentum. It is my first fifer in 98 T20s and the fact that it has come against MI makes it all the more special. I have worked a lot on my yorker. I was always good at the length balls and slower balls. I wanted to be a bowler who takes on responsibility and that’s what I have been working on for the last few years,” Patel said after the match.

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