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IPL 2017: Harbhajan Singh expresses disappointment over Wankhede Pitch for game against Kings XI Punjab

The bowler went for 45 runs in his 3 overs.

Harbhajan did not have the best of nights on Thursday

What's the story?

Mumbai Indians off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has expressed his disappointment over the wicket on offer for his side’s game against the Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

The 36-year-old expressed his views on Twitter, stating that if more of such tracks were to be seen, then one would see bowling machines and not bowlers take the field in time to come.

In case you didn’t know...

The game on Wednesday night saw both teams score in excess of 200 runs, with the hosts falling short by a mere 7 runs. Batting first, The Kings XI Punjab amassed 230 for 7 in their 20 overs on the back of a superb 93 from Wriddhiman Saha. In response, the two-time winners made 223 for 6, with Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard, leading the way with the bat.

Bowlers from either side faced the brunt of an excellent batting surface and in the end, one could say that it was Martin Guptill’s catch to remove Simmons that really made the difference between victory and defeat for the Glenn Maxwell led side.

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The heart of the matter

In his 3 overs bowled on Thursday night, Harbhajan went for 45 runs, thereby being the joint second most expensive bowler for his side on the night. That unfortunate distinction for the hosts went to Mitchell McClenaghan, who went for 54 runs in his 4 overs.

It was the same case with the Punjab bowlers as well, with Mohit Sharma going 57 runs in his 4 overs while Sandeep Sharma going for 42 runs in his 4 overs. Incidentally, it was these two bowlers who played a crucial role in their side’s win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the last game at Mohali. The former conceding 24 runs in 3 overs and taking 2 wickets while the latter conceding 31 runs in his 4 overs.

What’s next?

The opening Qualifier of this IPL is set to be played at this venue next week and it will be interesting to see if a similar wicket would be provided for that match as well. If one casts his mind back to the 2014 IPL, when a match of similar importance was played between the Kings XI Punjab and the Chennai Super Kings and it proved to be run-fest. Will we see something similar again this time around?

Author’s take

The point raised by Harbhajan on the decks on offer is a valid one, particularly when we consider that matches with totals hovering around 160-170 mark in this IPL have produced some fine contests. The game between the Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions at Rajkot, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab are just a few examples that when there is an even contest between bat and ball, it does lead to good viewing for everyone.

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