Kulkarni: 'Wish Archer had got the hat-trick'

Barbadian Jofra Archer, bought at a whopping Rs. 7.2 crore, contributed in a big way to RR's crucial win over MI on Sunday night.

Kulkarni: "The Wankhede wicket has got good bounce and good carry. So it helped him (Jofra Archer)."   -  AFP

An efficient seamer, Dhawal Kulkarni’s international career - notably in ODIs - has happened in fits and starts, but his IPL exploits tell a different tale.

The 29-year-old has 80 wickets from 83 matches at 26.75 and plying trade with three different franchises - Mumbai Indians,  Gujarat Lions and Rajasthan Royals - has made him a seasoned campaigner in the T20 league.

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On Sunday, he took the important wicket of  Evan Lewis soon after being swatted over cover for six. However, his returns this season has been modicum (8 matches, 4 wickets at an expensive economy rate of 9.48) but the Mumbai born cricketer put it down to being "in and out of the team".

"If you’re out of the team, you have to focus and prepare during practice. IPL is a long tournament and you don’t know when you get the opportunity. So make the most of it once you get it."

A consistent wicket-taker for Mumbai across all formats, Kulkarni heaped praise on Barbadian Jofra Archer - the bowling allrounder has 13 wickets from seven games. "I think he’s been bowling consistently well. No doubt about that. But today (against MI) it was special. The wicket assisted him really well. The way he was getting that bounce, it was really special. I just wished that he got a hat-trick. It would have been better for us and for him.

"I feel it’s very difficult for a batsman to face a bowler who’s bowling at 145 (kmph), especially with the way he bowls, the high arm action that he has got, it suited him.  The Wankhede wicket has got good bounce and good carry. So it helped him."

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While Kulkarni remains optimistic about Rajasthan Royals' chances - it is currently No. 5 with 12 points in as many games - of qualifying for the playoffs, he made a guarded statement, "All the games are crucial for us. Maybe, if we beat them in the next game (against KKR in Kolkata), we will have a good chance. And with the momentum that we’ve got, I’m sure we’ll be able to do that."

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