T10 might be the newest and the fastest cricket format around but it has already won a set of admirers. And one of them is former South African paceman Marchant de Lange, who is currently playing for Team Abu Dhabi.
The tall right-arm fast bowler fancies the T10 format because it helps in the development of new skills and strengths that can be deployed in other formats. One of them is the ability to perform well under pressure.
“Personally, I have already learned a couple of things. As a bowler, it teaches you to take that fear of getting hit for a six or four out of the equation. It teaches you to deal with that pressure,” de Lange said.
This same skillset came in handy when the 31-year-old picked up a five-wicket haul in his first match of Abu Dhabi T10 season 5.
The mind behind the fifer
Playing against Bangla Tigers, one of the strongest teams of this edition, Marchant de Lange struck five times in his 12 deliveries, a feat done only once before in the five seasons of the tournament.
Marchant first snared the wicket of one of the greatest cricketers of the generation, Faf du Plessis for a duck on his second ball.
But the next two balls out of three went straight into the stands for sixes, putting de Lange on the backfoot. First, Johnson Charles edged one that went above the keeper and then Andre Fletcher smacked one right above de Lange’s head.
Leaking 13 runs in three balls can easily make any bowler lose their composure. But that was not the case with Marchant de Lange.
“Before I come into the tournament, I have to accept that I will go for boundaries because the format is set up for runs,” he opined.
“Although I went for sixes, I just try to stay in the moment, relax and execute the plan… That means I need to be up for the challenge, try and execute my base ball.
“Either it is variations, maybe a yorker or a bumper.”
The towering speedster took the pace off the ball in his next delivery which bamboozled Fletcher, who missed it completely to get castled. Six balls, two wickets, 13 runs. Not too bad for a format that is meant to favour batters.
The second over from de Lange also carried a similar story to the first – wicket, get hit, wicket.
After snaring the wicket of Hazratullah Zazai in the first ball, de Lange was sent to the ropes by Benny Howell in the next delivery. And again, de Lange went back to his basics – “Try and execute my base ball and stay one step ahead of the batters.”
Marchant slowed down his next delivery, forcing Howell to mistime the shot and get caught at mid off. The South African capped off his spell with another wicket, sending back James Faulkner to end with figures of 2-0-23-5.
“It was really nice to get the first one and hopefully I can squeeze in one more fifer in the couple of games remaining. That would be awesome,” de Lange signed off.