There have been quite a few loopholes in the Hyderabad set-up for the last few seasons with the lack of power in the middle-order and the inconsistent form of their pace bowlers. Making up for a lot of that is Rashid Khan, whose impact in Hyderabad's surge this Indian T20 League season is heavily underrated.
Coming into the season after a less-than-ideal showing in the Caribbean Premier League, the onus was on Rashid Khan to carry the Hyderabad spin department. After a slow start on game one, the leg-spinner has been pivotal in driving them to a possible playoff berth.
The sheer number of spells he has bowled at an economy rate of fewer than six runs per over show how invaluable Rashid has been to the Hyderabad franchise.
vs Delhi - 4-0-14-3
vs Chennai - 4-0-12-0
vs Mumbai - 4-0-22-1
vs Punjab - 4-1-12-3
vs Rajasthan - 4-0-20-1
vs Punjab - 4-0-14-2
vs Delhi - 4-0-7-3
vs Bangalore - 4-0-24-1
In 8 of the 13 games this season, Rashid has conceded runs at an economy rate of six or less than six.
Heading into a massive game against Bangalore on Saturday, the battle between AB de Villiers and Rashid Khan was a big one for Hyderabad, especially with the history between the two including a blitz from de Villiers in the 2016 T20 World Cup game in Wankhede.
Rashid came out all guns blazing and had the South African clueless with the direction of his turn. While he did not dismiss de Villiers, the pressure he exerted from one end forced a release shot from the other and paved the way for his dismissal.
The middle overs
Rashid has been spectacular in the middle-overs phase for Hyderabad this season. 17 of his 18 wickets in this Indian T20 League season have come in this 7-16 overs phase of a T20 innings. Rashid had not only bowled the most number of balls in the middle overs this season but also bowled them at the best economy rate in the season when he went into the game against Bangalore.
An economy rate of 4.85 in the middle-overs phase is accompanied by a stunning strike-rate of 17.25. The leg-spinner has been impactful with his bowling all season.
While leg-spinners are believed to be match-ups for right-handers, Rashid has been equally effective against both types. He has 11 wickets of right-handers this season and seven of that of lefties. His economy rate against both is less than 5.5 runs per over.
By owning the middle overs, Rashid has given Hyderabad a massive boost in the middle overs. They are the only team to bowl with an economy rate of less than seven runs per over in the middle overs this Indian T20 League and most of it is down to Rashid and his vice-like grip.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / @ICC