In the last match he played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2018, Mark Wood conceded 49 runs in four overs and failed to take any wickets for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.
Wood repaying the faith
That was Mark Wood's lone match for Chennai Super Kings, who had bought him for Rs 1.5 crore in the auction in January 2018. He was bought by Lucknow Super Giants for IPL 2022 for 7.5 crore but withdrew from the tournament due to an elbow injury.
So, when the 33-year-old England international stood up on the top of his bowling mark for his first delivery in IPL 2023 for Lucknow Super Giants against Delhi Capitals, the only thing on the top of his mind was to bowl well and wash the stain of that disappointing first appearance.
Banger on debut
On Saturday, making his debut for LSG, Wood claimed his first IPL fifer, bagging 4-15 in his four overs as Lucknow Super Giants beat Delhi Capitals by 50 runs at the Ekana Stadium here.
"Last time I was here, I played for CSK, and it didn't go quite well. So I wanted to try to make an impact this time, and I'm delighted that it's gone well today. I felt good for a little period of time actually. I'm just pleased today that I managed to get some rhythm in and take some wickets," Mark Wood said during the post-match presentation ceremony on Saturday night.
Ripping through the top order
Lucknow skipper KL Rahul brought in Mark Wood in the fifth over and the English pacer made an immediate impact as he bowled Prithvi Shaw (12) and Mitchell Marsh (0) off successive deliveries, beating the batsmen with sheer pace.
Wood came back to claim the wickets of Sarfaraz Khan (4), Axar Patel (16), and Chetan Sakariya (4), getting his first fifer for Lucknow Super Giants as they restricted Delhi Capitals to 143/9 after Kyle Mayers had slammed a 38-ball 73 to help the hosts reach 193/6 in 20 overs.
Initially, Wood was not happy with the landing area at the crease as it was slippery and he nearly fell down. But after that, he adapted to the conditions, shortened his strides, and tried to bowl with good rhythm.
"I felt good for a little period of time actually. You could see the dew on the grass and it affected me. I fall even at the best of times. We played a practice match (here) and played at night time when it's been like this. But at training, you don't have the intensity that you have during a match. KL tried to keep things simple for me," said Wood, who has taken 45 wickets in 28 T20I matches for England and has a best-effort of 3-9 against the West Indies in 2019.
Credits bowling coach
Wood also noted the role played by LSG's bowling coach Morne Morkel in helping him settle down at LSG.
"The plan and preparation, Morne Morkel has been really good with me, just try to do similar to what I do for England. Today I was trying to keep my strides short because it was so wet. I feel at ease doing that charging in and letting it fly," said Wood.
LSG all-rounder Marcus Stoinis praised both Mark Wood and Kyle Mayers for their superb performances that gave the team a brilliant start.
"What a brilliant start for us. With our big boys firing, Woody bowling 160 kph and Dappa [Mayers] hitting them 160 meters. So it's a nice feeling. It's only one game but it's a nice start. It was absolutely soaking [in the outfield with dew]. We do practice under lights and do the fielding out here. There's not much you can do. It's quite a sandy surface so the spikes dig through. There are not many answers other than accepting it and practice really," he said after the match.
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