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Old February 23, 2011, 11:52 AM
Neel Here's Avatar
Neel Here Neel Here is offline
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Join Date: March 17, 2009
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Default Harbhajan on Powerplay

Does your defence mechanism keep changing?
It does. You cannot keep doing the same things. According to the situation your role changes in one-day cricket, especially in a phase like the Powerplay. If I bowl four spells, four times I will be playing a different role. If I come in the first Powerplay, and say the opposition are 70 for no loss after 10 overs, I will be looking to take a wicket. If I can manage to take one or two wickets in that period, then I can stop and come back later. In the middle overs I will then make sure no easy singles are given. You have to see where the momentum is going, and you need to make sure that whatever you are doing you are getting that momentum towards your team.

But if you are looking to take wickets in the Powerplay, isn't it a risk as the batsmen will go after you?

It really does not matter if you have two or three fielders outside [the 30-yard circle]. They will always get away even if you are trying to bowl tight. The batsman does not always need to create big hits. He can hit a boundary, then pick up some singles and still gets nine runs. To avoid that I need to plan in a way where he must look to hit wherever there is a fielder. That is what is called "bowling to the field". Then you are at least giving yourself a chance to get the batsman out. And if you manage to succeed then the next batsman will not start hitting straightaway.

If you are bowling in the first Powerplay aren't you at an advantage since the batsman is trying to hit?

When the field is in, the pressure is always on the bowler because the batsman knows that even a mishit can go for a four, if not a six.

Is there a difference between the two Powerplays?
There is no difference.

Then why do teams lose wickets in the batting Powerplay?
That is only because teams opt for it at the wrong time, probably. For example, say you have lost four wickets after 35 overs and then take the Powerplay in the 40th over. The danger then is that if you lose even one wicket you don't know what to do - whether to play the remaining overs [of the Powerplay] safely or to go for the hits. Ideally you want to have the batsmen coming in in the death overs to score as many as they can.

What is the best time to take the batting Powerplay?

The best way to take it is to keep wickets in hand. If after 25 overs the team is 150 for 2, and say, one batsman is on 60 and the other on 50, I will take the batting Powerplay straightaway. Those two batsmen are settled and have the momentum with them, so if they keep going 350 is possible, because in the last 10 overs batsmen will go for the slog in any case. And in such a scenario even if you lose wickets you can still afford the subsequent batsmen going for a slog with the field up. Also, if you do not want to lose any more wickets you still have 20-odd overs in hand to get to a good score of 320-odd.
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