England were 200-7 after 30.3 overs and it seemed like that the match was over. However, Sam Curran had other plans.
The left-hander kept England in the hunt to chase down the target of 330 runs at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Sunday.
Not many thought that the match will go into the final over but Curran made it possible with his blistering batting. The southpaw showed all the guile in his strokeplay and played at the top of his game.
England needed 14 runs in the final over and thus Natarajan had 12 runs in the bank. The pressure was on the bowler as Curran was striking the ball cleanly. Furthermore, Natarajan had bungled Curran’s catch in the penultimate over, which was bowled by Hardik Pandya.
Natarajan’s strength is to bowl yorkers but he didn’t have a great nine-over spell before bowling the final over, as he had conceded 67 runs. However, the fast bowler from Salem backed his strength and nailed the yorkers to perfection to help the team get over the line by seven runs.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan heaped praise on the fast bowler and credited him for holding his nerve in the pressure situation.
Vaughan feels the skills to bowl accurate yorkers is dying in the sport.
“It’s a dying art. In the era of white-ball cricket being so dominant, so many T20 leagues around the world and these players are playing so much of it, you would think that there are a lot of bowlers who can nail the yorkers. It is still the hardest ball to hit right at the end. If you miss it, of course, you are going to go to the stand. If you’ve got the calmness and the skill level to bowl the yorker under pressure, you go back to Lasith Malinga, Brett Lee towards the backend,” Vaughan said in a video on Cricbuzz.
“It’s still the hardest ball to get under and that’s what Sam Curran needed. He just needed a little bit of elevation to get under the ball and Natarajan held his nerves. He’s got that trajectory a little bit lower and skiddier and he angles them into the pads of Sam Curran. You could only imagine the heart-rate of Natarajan when he’s throwing that ball and he’s got to deliver that skill with billions watching. Full credit to him for nailing the yorker right,” Vaughan added.
Natarajan has taken massive strides in the recent past. The fast bowler impressed in the IPL 2020 as he scalped 16 wickets in as many games. Subsequently, he made his T20I, ODI, and Test debut on the Tour Down Under.
Natarajan finished the T20I series against Australia as the leading wicket-taker with six scalps in three matches. Thus, the left-arm fast bowler will aim to continue the good show in the upcoming IPL for SRH.