Always bowled well with new ball, swung it both ways: Vaibhav Arora

In the early stages of Chennai Super Kings’ failed run-chase on Sunday evening at the Brabourne stadium, the powers-that-be in the CSK dugout would’ve felt the full force of irony. In front of them was an Indian fast bowler, getting the white ball to swing both ways in the PowerPlay and keeping CSK’s openers a tad circumspect. With Deepak Chahar, CSK have often been on the other, greener side of this fence.

It’s of course too early too say if Punjab Kings have found their PowerPlay menace with the ball, but the 24-year-old Vaibhav Arora from Himachal Pradesh did a fine impression of the Rajasthan quick who CSK picked for 14 Crore a couple of months ago, and whose absence due to injury and rehabilitation has clearly had a role in the team’s worst start to a season in IPL history.

Arora, who successfully derailed CSK’s chase early on, admitted to battling debut nerves while standing at the top of his run up for the first time in the tournament, but managed to shake that feeling off rather quickly.

“Yeah there was pressure of it being a debut match for me but I had belief in myself, that I’ve done this before in the domestic circuit and practice matches. Wherever we’ve played – I’ve always bowled well with the new ball, swung it both ways. So there was confidence. I reaped the result of that confidence,” Arora said in the post-match press conference.

Mayank Agarwal saw prudence in bowling out Arora early on while the ball still swung for him. Arora held up his end of the bargain as PBKS sought two or three PowerPlay wickets to ensure CSK were rattled early. Arora took out CSK’s new-found top-order basher in Robin Uthappa and their spin crusher through the middle in Moeen Ali, and set the tone for PBKS to successfully defend 180/8.

“Since the ball was swinging, Mayank [Agarwal] told me to go for my fourth [over] straight away since I’d already picked two wickets in my three overs. We had Arshdeep Singh and Kagiso Rabada to bowl at the death so the plan was to try for another wicket in my fourth over,” Arora revealed. Though he didn’t get that, he finished with figures of 2 for 21 in a four-over spell that included 14 dot balls.

Did the anti-dew agent work?

Three days after CSK bore the brunt of excessive dew while having to defend their total, the ground staff at Brabourne sprayed Aspa 80 – an anti-dew agent – all over the ground. On March 31, Stephen Fleming had likened the wetness on the outfield to Niagara Falls as they couldn’t defend their total of 210.

But the proceedings on Sunday seemed different. Though Ravindra Jadeja won the toss and opted to field in anticipation of dew setting in later on, it perhaps didn’t turn up as potently as before. Chris Jordan, who bowled exceptionally at the death for CSK and nailed almost all of his yorkers, revealed in the innings break that the dew, surprisingly, hadn’t arrived by the end of the first innings, which went on till 9.23 PM IST.

Arora then stated that it didn’t affect PBKS in the PowerPlay either. “I felt the dew was a little less today compared to the previous games. Dew was there but not so much that the ball was getting too wet. I didn’t bowl at the death but the new ball didn’t get too wet today.”

Updated: April 6, 2022 — 2:52 pm

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