From tennis-ball cricket to Rohit Sharma's primary guy, Akash Madhwal

In the biggest game of his career thus far, the fast bowler recorded incredible stats of 5 for 5.
From tennis-ball cricket to Rohit Sharma's primary guy, Akash Madhwal

Wankhede Stadium, May 12, 2023. Shubman Gill was receiving bowls from Akash Madhwal, a generational prodigy from Uttarakhand with a background in tennis balls. To send the off stump spinning, he skids one past Gill's defences.

Though it wasn't quite Jasprit Bumrah vs. Virat Kohli, it did herald the entrance of yet another exceptional talent thanks to Mumbai's scouting network. Madhwal has easily replaced Bumrah and Jofra Archer as Mumbai's go-to bowler in their absence. In the elimination match in Chennai against the Lucknow Super Giants, he was their go-to bowler throughout all phases.

He came back with improbable stats of 3.3-0-5-5, the best in an IPL playoff game, to defeat the Super Giants. In T20 cricket, Madhwal has a lot going for him. With a rapid arm movement, he can make the ball skid and speed through, and it doesn't rise as much as the hitters anticipate. Also, he has superb control of the yorker, which he developed while playing tennis ball cricket in Uttarakhand.

On Wednesday night, every one of those abilities was prominently displayed. The skid and (low) bounce killed Ayush Badoni and Ravi Bishnoi. Mohsin Khan was defeated by the ideal yorker. Nonetheless, Prerak Mankad's and Nicholas Pooran's wickets in the powerplay and tenth over respectively stood out.

Madhwal concealed one away from Mankad's swinging arc and had him hole out to deep third after Rohit Sharma had swiftly moved Hrithik Shokeen from deep point to deep third. Even though it was only his sixth IPL game, Madhwal was able to carry out a plan under pressure. Mumbai and Rohit adore these bowlers.

Even more remarkable was Pooran's dismissal. Madhwal deceived the left-hander into going for the inward angle with his bowling from around the wicket, but the ball straightened late off the seam from a Test-match length to kiss the outside edge. After taking that defeat, Super Giants never fully recovered.

After Suryakumar Yadav was forced to withdraw due to injury, Madhwal, who had begun the IPL 2022 as a net bowler with Mumbai, was upgraded to the starting lineup. After making his Mumbai debut against Punjab Kings in Mohali earlier this month, he has played every game for the team despite not getting a game last season and not getting off to a good start this one. 75 of his 129 balls have come on the power play and the time of death. Rohit has faith in him.