IPL 2021: T Natarajan Had A Knee Niggle And So Wasn't Considered In Playing 11 : VVS Laxman
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IPL 2021: T Natarajan Had A Knee Niggle And So Wasn’t Considered In Playing 11 : VVS Laxman

T Natarajan and VVS Laxman
T Natarajan and VVS Laxman

T Natarajan, the left-arm pacer was conspicuous in his absence on Sunday as the bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) stumbled to their third consecutive defeat in the IPL 2021.

Team mentor and former India international VVS Laxman revealed after the game against Mumbai Indians that T Natarajan had a niggle in his left knee which kept him out from featuring in XI.

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman. (Photo Source: Twitter)

T Natarajan Had A Knee Niggle And Was Ruled Out: VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman also said that the franchise’s medical team will soon assess and decide on the extent of the injury.

“Unfortunately, Natarajan had a niggle in his left knee and that’s why he was ruled out and that’s why we went with Khaleel Ahmed who is also a left-arm seamer…We are going to assess the condition of Natarajan and I am sure the medical staff of the Sunrisers will take the right decision which will be beneficial for him and the franchise.”

David Warner stunningly announced four changes to the SRH lineup, with T Natarajan’s exclusion being the most surprising. Even after the massive changes, the same story was repeated for the team as they failed in yet another chase in Chennai.

T Natarajan
T Natarajan. Image Credits: Twitter

This time they were set a target of 151 by the Rohit Sharma-led outfit. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow made the perfect start in response, notching an unbeaten stand of 67 runs. However, the papery middle-order again crumbled under pressure and the batting lineup was bundled for just 137.

SRH lost to KKR by 10 runs and then to RCB by 6 runs before suffering defeat by 13 runs against Mumbai Indians. While the openers failed against KKR as Manish Pandey’s 61 and Jonny Bairstow’s 55 went in vain, against RCB they fell agonizingly short despite David Warner’s 54 as they finished on 143/9 after cruising at 115/2 in the 16th over. They could not score the required 35 runs in 4 overs losing 7 wickets.

VVS Laxman Impressed With Khaleel Ahmed’s Performance

Khaleel Ahmed, who made his India debut before T Natarajan, played the game as a like-for-like replacement for the pacer. The 23-year-old went bowled a frugal spell, conceding just 24 runs off his four overs and taking the wicket of Hardik Pandya in the slog overs.

VVS Laxman expressed his delight with how the pacer used his variations and pace. He further remarked that Khaleel Ahmed’s bowling bodes well for SRH.

Khaleel Ahmed © Twitter
Khaleel Ahmed © Twitter

Khaleel Ahmed, who made his India debut before T Natarajan, played the game as a like-for-like replacement for the pacer. The 23-year-old went bowled a decent frugal spell, conceding just 24 runs off his four overs and taking the wicket of Hardik Pandya in the slog overs.

“I was very impressed with the way he bowled. In his first game of the season, he assessed the conditions really well and used a lot of his variations along with extracting a lot of pace and bounce off the surface. So a lot of positives [to take] for SRH from the way Khaleel Ahmed bowled.”

SRH remains the only team without a win in IPL 2021. They will play their next game at the same venue against Punjab Kings on April 21.

SRH decided to make some wholesale changes to their playing XI. Four changes were made to the line-up as Virat Singh, Abhishek Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Khaleel Ahmed were picked for the MI match.

Wriddhiman Saha, Jason Holder, Shahbaz Nadeem, and T Natarajan were dropped from the playing XI. Still, Kane Williamson wasn’t considered but after the team suffered yet another batting collapse, he may return to action soon.

Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 150/5 (Quinton de Kock 40, Kieron Pollard 35*; Vijay Shankar 2/19) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 137 all out (Jonny Bairstow 43, David Warner 36; Rahul Chahar 3/19) by 13 runs.