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Harshal Patel, hat-trick hero for Royal Challengers goes slower route to claim glory in his 6th attempt

Harshal Patel

Dubai, September 27: The industrial city of Sanand in Gujarat hosts several carmakers' production and assembling plants. From Tata to the German marquee BMW have units in the area, and Harshal Patel hails from there.

But on Sunday (September 26), Harshal did not replicate one of those fast cars but went on a slower route to claim his first hat-trick. Harshal's slower ball first accounted for Hardik Pandya, whose carve over covers ended in the hands of Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli.

A clever slow ball on the leg stump did in Kieron Pollard who shuffled across too much to expose his woodwork, and another loopy slow ball that dipped on Rahul Chahar trapped the batsman plumb in front.

Later Harshal, who is on top of the bowlers chart in IPL 2021 with 23 wickets from 10 matches, ended Mumbai Indians innings with a slower yorker that uprooted Adam Milne's off-stump.

So, how did he manage to grab the first hat-trick of his life?

"The game dictates different things, I try to bowl slower balls more at Sharjah as compared to Abu Dhabi and Dubai because of the nature of the wicket. Whatever the situation demands, I do that," said Harshal in the post-match press conference.

"The wicket of Kieron Pollard was very satisfactory because it was a bluff, in the meeting we had planned, that you can set him up by bowling wide and then you can bowl a yorker at his heels which he might miss.

"Rather than bowling fast-paced yorkers at his heel, I bowled a slower one. Pollard is somebody who can do damage if you bowl in his areas. We wanted to take him wide and then once you drag him wide you have the option to bluff him. That came off really well

"My aim is always to have a positive impact with ball and bat, irrespective of which team I always play for," said Harshal.

"I was thinking if the batters can't pick my slower balls then the bowlers also will find it difficult to spot (referring to Rahul Chahar's wicket that got him the hat-trick). I just bet on that. As I said, this is my sixth time being on a hat-trick and finally got one, so pretty happy," he pointed.

Harshal also gave a pat to his fellow bowlers Mohammad Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal and Glenn Maxwell.

"The way Siraj started, he's someone who sets the tempo for us and the way Maxi and Chahal bowled in the middle overs were absolutely brilliant. They were under pressure at the death and we executed really well," he added.

Obviously, the hat-trick has left him a pleased man. "For me personally, I feel pretty good. I am being able to execute my skills. In terms of the team, we are not looking at the points table because if you do, your mind sort of goes away from the process.

''The difficult thing for us was to overcome this inertia of two losses which we have done in this game and we want to continue with this momentum and we want to play this brand of cricket consistently," said Harshal.

"First-time ever I have a taken a hat-trick in my life, I had not done this even in a school game. In IPL, I have been on hat-tricks six times and this is the first time I have gotten it. It will take some time to sink in," he added.

RCB captain Virat Kohli too was mighty happy. "I am very happy with the way we won. It was a difficult start with the loss of Devdutt in the second over. I got off to a good start and KS (Bharat) took the pressure off me.

''You have to get into the bowler's space every now and then, especially against world-class performers like Jasprit Bumrah. Tonight, I have no complaints. Maybe in batting I will give it 8 as we should've got 20-25 more. Harshal bowled an amazing over, completely shut the game down and did an amazing job," said Kohli.

Harshal's hat-trick and three-wicket haul by Chahal helped RCB defend 165 and defeat Mumbai Indians by 54 runs at the Dubai International Stadium.

Earlier, Maxwell and Kohli scored 56 and 51 as RCB posted 165/6 in the allotted 20 overs. Srikar Bharat also played a knock of 32 runs from 24 balls. RCB will next lock horns against Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday (September 29) in the IPL 2021.

With this win Royal Challengers Bangalore have strengthened their position on the third slot in the IPL 2021 points table with 12 points from 10 matches, 4 points adrift of both Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals, who are on No 1 and No 2 with 16 points apiece.

Another two wins from next four matches and take the Royal Challengers closer to a knockout place.

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Story first published: Monday, September 27, 2021, 9:35 [IST]
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