I was to bowl at Kallis' body, and fast - Rahul Shukla
Rahul Shukla may not have cemented his place in his domestic first-class team, Jharkhand, as yet, but on Monday night he went a long way in making a name for himself, handing Jacques Kallis a duck in Rajasthan Royals' victory over Kolkata Knight Riders. He impressed with his pace, hitting the 140s on a greenish track at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium; bowling quick, especially at Kallis, he said, was the task assigned to him. "I was to bowl at his body and fast, and that is what I did and it worked," he told the IPL website. "The wicket was fast and if you gave width to the batsman, the delivery could go for a boundary. So I bowled to Bisla, fast and on the stumps and that uprooted his stumps, and then I fumbled and fell [and the ball was wided] and the next one again I bowled fast [and got Kallis]." However, pace is not his only strength, Shukla said: "I bowl good yorkers, slower ones. With the new ball I use pace and bowl fast, and then in the slog I can bowl the slower ones. It depends on the situation of the match. Having variety in your bowling is important while playing twenty20 matches."
Dravid fined for slow over rate
Rahul Dravid, Rajasthan Royals' captain, has been fined US$20,000 for failing to meet over rate requirements against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday night. The officials, after making allowances for various delays, deemed Royals to be two overs short of the required rate, according to the IPL website. The fine was levied as per the IPL's code of conduct, keeping in mind it was Dravid's first such offence of the season.
T20 needs a 'a balance of skills' - Hodge
Being the leading run-scorer in Twenty20 cricket, Brad Hodge knows a thing or two about the format. Talking to the IPL website, Hodge said batting in a T20 requires skill just like any other format of the game. "It is a balance of skills. We know that you have to have a high boundary count without losing your wickets. So, more often than not, it is the more skillful players that dominate because they are able to [execute] somewhat risky shots without being too erratic to score those boundaries and singles," Hodge said. Having all that experience, it's possible to wonder why Hodge isn't pushed up the order for Royals, but he sees himself in the role of finisher for the team. "Rahul is just trying to keep me until the later overs to control [the game]. We are quite a young side so I think he wants experience coming in somewhere around the end. Guiding the lower order, that's what I see at the moment. I think I did a pretty good job of it last year, so what he is asking for is something similar."
Ashwin inspiration behind bowling Vihari to Gayle - Srikkanth
Hanuma Vihari's Man-of-the-Match winning performance against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday included an unbeaten 44 in the chase and, perhaps more importantly, the early dismissal of Chris Gayle. Vihari, with his first ball, had Gayle edging a quickish, bouncy offspinner behind for 1. The decision to hand Vihari the new ball, Hyderabad Sunrisers' mentor Kris Srikkanth said, was influenced by R Ashwin's success against Gayle. "The strategy was decided a day before -- to bring on Vihari against Chris Gayle. The reason was Chennai Super Kings' Ashwin has always been successful against the West Indian big-hitter," Srikkanth told the Hindu. "We all know that Gayle takes time to settle down against spinners. For Vihari it could not have been better than to take such a big wicket with his first-ever ball in the IPL. He also batted very sensibly when the chase was on." Whether Sunrisers will employ the same strategy as they face off against Royal Challengers once again later today, is left to be seen.
Dinesh Karthik eager to close out games
Mumbai Indians wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik believes he is batting well at the moment, but is eager to finish games for his side. Karthik has scored 60 (against Royal Challengers) and 37 (against Super Kings) so far, the 60 coming off 37 balls in a chase where Mumbai fell two short with Karthik out with four balls to spare. "I am happy with the way I am batting. But I feel that I need to finish games off. I feel I should have finished the game in Bangalore, if you are batting well, it is important to finish games off. Pollard did that wonderfully for us in Chennai."
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo