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RCB have always been under criticism for being a batting heavy side while not giving enough importance to the bowling department. This year, the management made amends and invested smartly in the bowling unit.
The bowling was slightly inconsistent at the start, but once RCB found the right combination of bowlers, they delivered more often than not.
Umesh led the bowling attack with 20 wickets in 14 matches but there were others as well who ably supported him throughout the tournament.
Take a look at the bowling performances that made an impact!
1. Umesh Yadav led the attack to trigger a KXIP collapse with his 3-23(4)
You don't often get to see a double-wicket over in a T20 game but Umesh had made this feat a regular affair in this season's VIVO IPL. From his many double-wicket overs, two of them came against KXIP once at Chinnaswamy and once at the Holkar Stadium. But getting Gayle and Rahul, two of the most intimidating openers in one over in a must win game definitely stands out. RCB faced the trepidation of elimination and bowling first on a ground where over 450 runs were produced in the previous game didn't send positive signals to the bowlers. Umesh's pacy short deliveries did the trick that day. Both Rahul and Gayle tried to pull the short one for a six but Umesh proved to be a little too fast as they could only hole it to the fielder in the deep. Umesh then came back for his final over to dismiss Tye with another short one as he ended up edging one to the keeper.
2. Mohammed Siraj ran through the SRH defense with 3-25(4)
There is not a better sight than bowlers bowling fast toe crushing yorkers. This bowling skill was on full display by Siraj against SRH at the RGI Stadium. Mohammed Siraj proved that even in this era of variations and innovations, fast incoming yorkers executed to precision are almost impossible to get away with. Grown up playing in Hyderabad, Siraj exploited the familiar conditions and delivered his best spell of this VIVO IPL. He first got the dangerous Dhawan caught at long leg with an effort delivery that was banged in short and then came back in the death overs to reinstate his reputation as a death bowler. He went the orthodox way and just bowled fast yorkers and uprooted the stumps twice in the 19th over dismissing Yusuf Pathan and Wriddhiman Saha.
3. Washington Sundar strangled KXIP with his 2-22(4)
After Umesh provided with the early breakthroughs, the Punjab batting lineup had started to regroup with KL Rahul leading the way. At one stage, KXIP were 3-36 in 4 overs but had consolidated to 3-94 in 11. After having a disappointing outing in the previous game against KKR, RCB still backed Washington Sundar and he was at his intelligent best. Bowling in a smaller ground, Sundar smartly varied his pace and length and did not give any air to the ball. He fired one in to Rahul in the 12th over, rushing him in a slog sweep that caught the top edge off his bat and went straight to Sarfaraz positioned at short third. He bowled tight lines and strangled the batsmen giving nothing away. Umesh's 3-fer overshadowed Sundar's performance in this match but his wickets in the middle created an equal impact as that of Umesh's.
4. Yuzvendra Chahal's wily leg spin bamboozled DD with 2-22(3)
It's not easy for a wrist spinner to bowl with the new ball that too with just 2 men outside the 30-yard circle. But Yuzvendra Chahal has seemed to master this art and is very comfortable when put into this situation. He opened the bowling against DD and bowled a couple of rippers to leave Gambhir totally clueless. He was brought in mainly for Jason Roy, and Chahal obliged by squaring him up by a flipper. He was miserly in the powerplay giving away just 8 in his 2 overs and then came back in the 16th over to make Maxwell his bunny for the 5th time in 7 encounters in T20s.
5. Tim Southee's swing & accuracy got him 2-25(4) v MI
Tim Southee came in like a breath of fresh air and rejuvenated the RCB bowling department. In only his second game for RCB, Southee gave a match winning performance for which he also bagged the MOM award. Defending a below par total, he brought in all his international experience to play bowling as many as 14 dot balls. He gave away just 15 runs off his two overs in the death and swung the ball in the powerplay to keep the batsmen guessing. With 35 required in 3 overs and the Pandya brothers still on the crease, he bowled a 5 run 18th over to make things out of reach for the opposition.