Harbhajan Singh has not got as many chances to bowl for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) like he got for Mumbai Indians (MI) while playing for them in the past decade. Harbhajan has bowled just 31.5 overs in the 13 matches he has played in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018. But Harbhajan not bowling a single over in a match where 20 overs were bowled is a first in hundreds of T20 matches he has played in his career.
It was quite clear after the powerplay overs that the Hyderabad pitch is helping the fast bowlers. In the powerplay overs, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) had already lost 3 wickets. Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja bowled reasonably well whereas Shardul Thakur struggled a bit after taking the priced wicket of SRH skipper Kane Williamson.
If not bowl the quota of 4 overs, then Harbhajan would have worked as a sixth bowler as Thakur was taking a beating. He has been inefficient towards the end of the innings. Carlos Brathwaite has a better strike rate against fast bowlers than spinners. He could have blocked the flow of boundaries against Brathwaite.
Here’s how Twitterati reacted to Dhoni’s new tactic to not give the main bowler a go at the batsmen —
Looks like Harbhajan Singh is playing today as pure batsman in the XI. #SRHvCSK
— Ananthasubramanian (@_chinmusic) May 22, 2018
@harbhajan_singh Have you ever played a full T20 game in which you haven’t bowled a single ball?
— @Pranav (@pranavgokhale) May 22, 2018
— Prahalad (@prahaladkobla) May 22, 2018
Harbhajan Singh will be awarded “Jadeja of the match” #CSKvSRH
— Cricket Bakchod (@Cric_bakchod) May 22, 2018
— Sultan Mehmood Khan (@smk_77) May 22, 2018
Harbhajan Singh playing as a specialist batsman or what?
— Chinmay Jawalekar (@CricfreakTweets) May 22, 2018
Dhoni# stop play with team play with your ego…
Last year irfan pathan and this year harbajan singh.
u are believe overseas player more than indian player…in this all series u not given to complete all over to spin blowers….
— Prabhjot Sandhuria (@singhsandhuria) May 22, 2018
— Balaji (@simplemann1) May 22, 2018
Is Harbhajan Singh playing as a batsman for CSK? Unpredictable MS Dhoni. Fighting total from the Sunrisers. People were questioning Carlos Braithwaite’s selection today, he’s justified it I believe. #SRHvCSK
— Shiv Dhawan (@shivdhawan10) May 22, 2018
— Sandeep Kumar (@SandeepKrIITK) May 22, 2018
If the plan was to give Harbhajan just one or two overs, CSK could have utilised Shane Watson. They could have played an extra batsman in place of Harbhajan. CSK definitely struggled with the bat as they lost 4 wickets in less than 8 overs while chasing a target of 140 runs.
The off-spinner was promoted up the order in the match against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). The 37-year-old has taken 7 wickets from 13 matches he has played including the one in which he did not get to bowl at all.