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IPL 2018

Shakib Al Hasan – The Dark Knight of Sunrisers Hyderabad and the best bargain buy of IPL

blank Umid Kumar Dey
blank Umid Kumar Dey
Shakib Al Hasan – The Dark Knight of Sunrisers Hyderabad and the best bargain buy of IPL
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He rolls his index finger as his arms are wide open. He is running – no, flying – through the air as his team-mates converge onto him to mob him. He will be taking all the plaudits tonight – and why not? After all, he has only just won his team the game with his all-round brilliance.

No, no, we are not yet to the part where I laud Shakib Al Hasan. Instead, we are speaking of Rashid Khan here. As if he wasn’t good with the ball alone, he made 34 runs from 10 balls with the bat, took two catches and initiated one run-out against Kolkata Knight Riders.

So it is only natural for all the limelight to be showered upon him. He deserves it… my word, he does.

But let’s spare a thought or two on the Dark Knight that prowls in the shadows and guards the Sunrisers – his Gotham – with vigilance. He may not have superpowers like Rashid’s googlies or Yusuf Pathan’s slogging, but he has something that no-one else does: an uncanny brain that can outfox any opponent amalgamated with unparalleled grit and determination.

The best bargain of the IPL

IPL's finest

Shakib Al Hasan was bought for a mere $295,000 in the auction by the Sunrisers Hyderabad. So far, he has played in all the matches for his new franchise and has scored 216 runs from 12 innings at an average of 21.6 and 14 wickets from 16 games at an average of 31.5 and an economy rate of 7.87.

Breaking down the numbers further, the Bangladesh Test and T20I captain’s value for money stands at $1283-per-run-and-wicket.

Meanwhile, comparing this number with the other all-rounders in the Indian Premier League gives a clear perception of how good a buy Shakib was. Ben Stokes, who was bought for $1.85 million, had a value for money of $9068-per-run-and-wicket.

For Andre Russell, retained for $1 million, the figure stands at $3039 per-run-and-wicket. His team-mate Sunil Narine, who, too, was retained and cost $1.25 million, cost $3342-per-and-wicket.

A quick evaluation for the rest of the all-rounders reveals that Shane Watson, DJ Bravo, Krunal Pandya and Hardik Pandya cost $1331, $6136, $5416 and $5842-per-run-and-wicket respectively.

So, as it can be inferred from above, Shakib Al Hasan stands tall above the rest of the all-rounders with a miserly cost of $1282-per-runs-and wickets. The only one anywhere near him is Chennai Super Kings’ Shane Watson with $1331-per-runs-per-wicket as he was also bought at a bargain price of $591000.

Even if the numbers are recalculated by making a wicket worth 20 runs, Shakib beats them all quite comfortably.

Two of the things that haven’t been considered in the calculations is the economy and strike-rates of the all-rounders. In that aspect, Shakib’s economy rate of 7.87 makes him the third best in the list after Krunal Pandya’s 7.07-runs-per-over and Sunil Narine’s economy rate of 7.65.

In terms of batting strike-rate, he falls behind everyone with a relatively poor number of 118.68 runs-per-100-balls. But then again, considering that he mostly came into bat in difficult conditions – be it the pitch or the situation of the match – makes his low strike-rate fathomable.

The unsung hero

Rashid Khan's enabler

Admittedly, there has not been a single game where the Bangladesh star stood above the rest of his team-mates outright with his batting and bowling. He has, however, chipped in with his contributions in almost every game.

Be it a handy 20-odd runs innings with the bat or an economical spell with the ball – he has always been useful for his team, something which makes him a very revered figure in the Sunrisers’ camp.

“Everyone doesn't talk about him [Shakib] but what [a] contribution he gives to the team! He is more valuable than somebody getting 80 runs in a T20. Just get two wickets and get about 20 runs and that will win the match," Muralitharan said to NDTV.

What Murali said perfectly depicts the role of the unspoken king of Hyderabad. Against his former team, Kolkata Knight Riders, in the second qualifier of the IPL 2018, he scored 28 runs from 24 balls after coming in to bat at 60 for 2 following the wickets of Sunriser’s two best batters, Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan.

Two overs later, Wriddhiman Saha – a set batsman – also fell, leaving Sunrisers at 84 for 3 after 10.3 overs. Given that the rest of the middle order of the Hyderabad outfit haven’t been reliable, had Shakib also lost his wicket, there could have been a collapse.

In the end, he was unfortunately run out with the score at 113 for four in 15.1 overs, setting it up for the sloggers Yusuf Pathan and Carlos Brathwaite to take the score above 165. They might have failed but Rashid Khan did the job that the aforementioned duo should have done.

With the ball, he churned out three overs and gave away only 16 runs while taking the crucial wicket of KKR’s best finisher Dinesh Karthik, which, according to Ajit Agarkar, was the most important wicket of the second innings.

“Shakib, we shouldn't forget, got the crucial wicket of Dinesh Karthik,” Agarkar told ESPNCricinfo. “I think that probably was the biggest wicket of the game and, of course, Andre Russell, but Dinesh Karthik has probably been the guy who has been taking them home.”

He would also have had taken the wicket of Andre Russell had Wriddhiman Saha not dropped his catch. In the end, however, it didn't cost much as Rashid Khan was able to choke the big West Indian.

This match was the perfect epitome of the type of contribution that Shakib makes, without which the Sunrisers have found it difficult to win games. Indeed, in each of Sunriser’s last four defeats, Shakib failed to live up to his reputation and couldn’t contribute like he usually does.

Despite the fact that Rashid Khan played well in the four consecutive matches that his team lost, his efforts were rendered futile without the assistance of Shakib. In short, Shakib is the assister to Rashid Khan’s freakishness – a sort of an enabler that provides the final cutting edge to get the team over the line.

But, alas, nobody really talks about him but he doesn’t care anyway. Knowing Shakib, all he cares about is to play well and make his team win – and right now, Shakib and his team would be hoping that he keeps his 100% win record in IPL finals intact with a win against Chennai at the Wankhede.

 

Picture credit: BCCI

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