IPL 2020: Mohammed Shami, the man behind Kings XI’s fightback

With sixteen wickets in 10 games, fast bowler Shami is proving to be the match-winner for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.

Shami is an all-format bowler, but he made guest appearances for India in T20Is until last year. He returned to the squad after a two-year gap for the series against the West Indies.   -  Sportspicz

When sportsmen around the world were confined to their homes amid the COVID-19-induced lockdown, Mohammed Shami trained by his spacious farm in Sahaspur village in Uttar Pradesh. This is perhaps the secret to his electric form in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League.

The India fast bowler brought Kings XI Punjab’s campaign back on track by defending only five runs in the twin Super Over game against Mumbai Indians on Sunday. On Tuesday against Delhi Capitals in Dubai, he strengthened his reputation further by picking up two crucial wickets (2/28) to restrict the opponent — with an unbeaten Shikhar Dhawan in red-hot form — to 164.

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Kings XI skipper K.L. Rahul, who has had the best seat from behind the stumps, expects the bowler to hold on to the momentum to keep their playoffs hopes alive. “It is great to see the way Shami has been bowling. The ball is coming out of his band as perfectly as ever and hopefully he can get more wickets for the team. A lot of things are falling in place. The work put in behind the scene by the coaches and the boys has slowly started to show on the field, which is a great sign. We can learn from our mistakes and go forward,” he told reporters after the five-wicket win over the Capitals.

Shami is an all-format bowler, but he made guest appearances for India in T20Is until last year. He returned to the squad after a two-year gap for the series against the West Indies.

Kings XI has been losing games from comfortable positions, but in the second-half they bounced back with three consecutive wins to move to the fifth spot on the points table. And Shami performed in all three games, dismissing six top flight players — AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer.

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“We all know what Shami can do on his given day. He has been doing that for many years. What is different about him this year is that he has shown a lot more clarity, he put his hand up as a senior bowler,” Rahul heaped praise on the leader of Kings XI’s pace attack.

“It is important in IPL that the players who represent the country put their hands up and that makes the team environment a lot better. The youngsters can feed off that and you start winning a lot more games.”

Shami has picked up 16 wickets in 10 games along with 98 dot balls. He is right after Kagiso Rabada (21 wickets) in the bowling chart.

With Shami breathing fire, Kings XI managed to beat the table-toppers. They have to win all the remaining games. “Delhi and Mumbai are on top because they are strong teams and have played well this season. It is important we stick to our strengths, keep trusting our skills and that’s a good thing that we have done,” said a hopeful Rahul.

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