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Ice-cool Yash Dayal’s redemption act for RCB

The RCB pacer’s final-over heroics against CSK sums up his team’s comeback from hopelessness to the playoffs.

Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes, and now Yash Dayal. The inherent beauty of sport, cruel as it can be, is that there is scope for redemption.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru player Yash Dayal celebrates after Bengaluru won the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 cricket match against Chennai Super Kings, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.(PTI)

Broad had to wait for three years after the ignominy of conceding six consecutive sixes to Yuvraj Singh at Kingsmead in the 2007 T20 World Cup to become T20 world champion in 2010.

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For Stokes, the wait was longer. Six years after being carted for four consecutive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the final over of the 2016 T20 World Cup at Eden Gardens, he scored the winning run to complete England’s 2022 T20 World Cup triumph.

Destiny was kinder to Dayal. He got his opportunity to exorcise his ghosts a year after being at the receiving end of Rinku Singh’s onslaught in a league game against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2023. Playing for Gujarat Titans, Dayal kept missing his yorkers in the final over and was picked off for five sixes in a row by the KKR finisher. Even 29 runs could not be protected as the over was milked for 31.

On Saturday night in Bengaluru before a packed stadium, Dayal successfully defended 17 runs in the final over to guide Royal Challengers Bengaluru to the IPL playoffs, beating Chennai Super Kings in a do-or-die final league encounter. That he could defend against one of the most successful final-over finishing artists MS Dhoni – Ravindra Jadeja was with him – made it even more redeeming for the left-arm pacer.

Rinku sent his Uttar Pradesh team-mate Dayal a virtual hug, calling it ‘God’s plan’. It felt like it. After all, the final over didn’t begin well for Dayal. In trying to nail a yorker, he bowled a full toss which Dhoni deposited outside the stadium.

“After what happened to me last time (against Rinku), there was nervousness. I subconsciously went back to that place,” Dayal told reporters. But the 26-year-old pacer kept his cool.

As it turned out, it was a quirk of fate. A drier ball replaced the old one. Dayal got a grip on things. He changed tactics and began hitting the pitch with slower balls. First Dhoni holed out to deep backward square leg against a back-of-the-hand slower ball. Each of the next four balls were off-pace. Shardul Thakur and Ravindra Jadeja couldn’t collect a single boundary. Dayal, arms wide open, went on a victory run all the way to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium boundary rope and celebrated with the home crowd.

“I had faced a lot of criticism on social media. I didn’t want to prove others wrong but had a point to prove to myself,” Dayal later told teammate Mohammed Siraj.

Dayal would have a content night’s sleep on Friday night after RCB caught the fourth playoff berth with their sixth consecutive victory in a tournament comeback for the ages. The Bengaluru franchise had one win to show after their first eight matches.

2016 AGAIN

RCB’s winning streak in the lead up to the playoffs has similarities to 2016, the last time they made it to the IPL final. That’s when they rode on Virat Kohli’s extraordinary batting form (973 runs) to score six wins in their last seven league matches. Here again, Kohli (708 runs) has been prolific.

Leading the bowling charts for them is Dayal with 15 wickets at an economy of 8.94. He couldn’t have been sure last year when he was badly affected by the trolls, taken ill and lost 7 to 8 kg. RCB, and to be fair his previous franchise GT, bid aggressively for him in the auction. Dayal proved every bit worthy of the ₹5 crore bid for him with his match-winning final over, to cap a remarkable late run for RCB.

“People will always remember certain journeys. The way we have come back after eight games, we needed to win six, people will remember this team,” Dinesh Karthik told his team in the change room. “Every year in this tournament, when you hit the seven-game mark, there will be one or two teams which would have probably won one or two and they will look to us and say, ‘RCB did it’.”


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