Bowl wicket to wicket and tempt the batsmen for boundaries. Royal Challengers Bangalore fast bowler Umesh Yadav has revealed his bowling plan that dismissed the dangerous Kings XI Punjab opening pair of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul in the same over on Monday night in his match-winning effort of 3 for 23. Umesh’s figures helped bowl Kings XI out for only 88, which RCB chased down with 10 wickets and nearly 12 overs to spare.

“We knew those two (Gayle and Rahul) were the dangerous batsmen because once they’re set, they can take the score to 180-190,” Umesh told after the match. “Our team plan was to hit the good lengths and I knew it would be better to not to give them any room. So I wanted to tempt them to hit me for boundaries and I wanted to focus on my strengths – pace and bounce – and tried to bowl wicket to wicket. My captain and team-mates also backed me with that plan.”

Even before Umesh got rid of the openers with short deliveries in the fifth over, he and Tim Southee swung the new ball with precision and didn’t offer the batsmen any room to restrict them to 14 for 0 in the first three overs. The third over was a sign of the things to come in the fifth, when Umesh troubled Gayle in the first half of the over with swing, pace and bounce, and then almost had Rahul caught at mid-off on the last ball of the over.

In his next over, Umesh banged in short balls and had both batsmen caught at deep square leg within a span of four deliveries, although after Rahul had smashed him for two sixes in the eight balls he faced from Umesh that fetched 15 runs.

“If you’re scared of getting hit as a bowler, you can’t bowl in the IPL,” Umesh said. “T20 is such a format that sometimes you get a wicket off a poor ball and sometimes you are hit for a six on a good ball. My focus is always to move on to the next ball if I’ve been hit for a six. It’s important to forget the past and stay in the present in the short format.”

When Umesh returned in the 13th over, which was his last, he also had Andrew Tye caught behind for a duck and finished with the same figures in both legs against Kings XI – 3 for 23. In their first clash last month, Umesh’s spell had helped bowl Kings XI out for 155 which RCB had chased in the last over. Umesh is now the leading wicket-taker for RCB with 17 scalps from 12 matches, and third on the list overall behind Tye (20) and Hardik Pandya (18).

“I had not noticed that much (same figures against Kings XI) because it’s been a while since that match,” he said. “My focus was just to do well for the team and keep the motivation on a high level.”

RCB are still placed seventh, with 10 points from 12 matches and to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need to win their remaining matches and hope some other results go their way. They will play their last two games against current table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad at home on Thursday, and against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Saturday.

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