As luck would have it, the opportunity arrived in Super Giants’ third match. Avesh had already put Super Giants ahead in the game with the wickets of openers Kane Williamson and Abhishek Sharma. Williamson fell trying to ramp a slower ball, a delivery Avesh knew was going to work because he had seen some grip when his side was batting.
During the strategic timeout in the second half of the match, Super Giants’ mentor Gautam Gambhir told Avesh he had to win the match for the team. “Just bowl your best ball,” Gambhir told him, according to Avesh. “Just pick your best ball, back yourself and execute it. Gautam bhai, Andy Bichel, Andy Flower, KL [Rahul] bhai – they always tell me you are our main bowler. You will win us matches.”
When Avesh began the 18th over, a win looked distant. Sunrisers needed 33 with Nicholas Pooran looking dangerous and six wickets in hand at the ground that has seen the most sixes this IPL.
Avesh tried to repeat what he had learned earlier and bowled into the pitch only for the ball to sit up nicely for Pooran to hit a six. That took Sunrisers’ win probability well beyond 60%. And if you have been at the receiving end not long ago, you can start doubting yourself.
“I still had five balls to bowl,” Avesh said. “I thought I have to focus on executing them. I thought I will bowl just the yorkers now. It worked.”
These weren’t the perfect yorkers. The one that got Pooran was a thigh-high full toss. The one that accounted for Abdul Samad was just short of being a yorker. But that’s how cricket goes sometimes: there will be days when he will nail the yorkers but they will run away for four off the inside edge. That he had been trusted to do just this by his last franchise, that four franchises fought over him at the auction, that he got this over despite the defeat two matches ago tells you this is no fluke.
On the ESPNcricinfo smart stats metric to measure a player’s impact on the result, Avesh ended up with a score of 121.57, which was 40 more than the next-best. He is consistently being chosen to do the most difficult job more often than established superstars. His teams certainly seem to know his worth.