England seamer Mark Wood picked up five wickets in his first Indian Premier League (IPL) spell in five years for Lucknow Super Giants against the Delhi Capitals at the Ekana Stadium on Saturday.
In just his second IPL game - a first since 2018 - Wood steamed past Delhi opener Prithvi Shaw and Mitchell Marsh with a sensational burst of pace and seam bowling in his first over
Delhi’s 194-chase was dented further when Wood bounced out Sarfaraz Khan, leaving the visiting side on 48 for three in seven overs.
Wood’s first two wickets were pearlers on a sluggish surface where run-scoring has traditionally been difficult. Bowling the fifth over of the DC innings, Wood’s sharp fuller delivery bamboozled Shaw as it cut inwards to hit the top of off-stump. Off the very next delivery, Wood nearly recreated the previous delivery to perfection as he breached Marsh’s attempted drive to hit the stumps.
Wood returned in the final over and dismissed an in-form Axar Patel and Chetan Sakariya in the space of four deliveries as Lucknow won its first-ever home game by 50 runs. Wood’s 5/14 was also his career-best bowling T20 figures, incidentally coming in his 50th match.
The 33-year-old Englishman has been plagued by several injuries over his eight-year international career since 2015. However, the lanky paceman has often returned for his national side without shedding his manic pace.
Wood’s first stint in the IPL came in 2018 when he was picked up by Chennai Super Kings for Rs 1.5 crore. However, he only featured in a solitary game for MS Dhoni’s side. Wood went wicketless while conceding 49 runs in four overs during Chennai’s opening game of the season. Having been benched for the next nine games, Wood decided to return to his country to prepare for a Test series against Pakistan.
“The decision has been made for me to return home to England to prepare for the English summer,” Wood wrote in an Instagram post.
“Having worked so hard to get back in the test team, and because I’m not currently in the CSK side, I am coming home to play for Durham to hopefully put my name in the hat for test match selection,” Wood then said about leaving the franchise.
Wood’s decision meant he had to wait for four years before regaining an IPL contract. Ahead of the 2021 auction, Wood pulled out of the tournament citing personal reasons after setting an INR 2 crore base price for the marquee event.
Wood’s superb performances with England upon his return from injuries prompted a massive INR 7.5 crore bid from LSG ahead of its maiden IPL campaign last year. An elbow injury returned to haunt Wood, effectively ruling him out of the season. He charted another comeback at the T20 World Cup in late 2022 in Australia where he emerged as the fastest bowler of the tournament while picking nine wickets from four games at a strike-rate of 9.3 - the best among all bowlers (min. 8 wickets). Wood had also bowled the fastest delivery of the tournament 154.74kph.
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