Warner's reverse whacks
The reverse whack
R Ashwin has made a reputation by bowling unconventional variations, but David Warner today presented him with a response so outrageous, it was from the grass banks beyond left-field. In the third over, Warner switched his grip even as Ashwin trotted in and set himself up in the stance of a right hander before 'pulling' the ball through what was originally cover. He repeated the dose in Ashwin's next over and sent another ball packing through the same area, before reverse-whacking Suresh Raina later in the piece through point. He saved his best for the end overs, though, when he on-drove Dwayne Bravo through wide long-off. Try setting a field for that.
The penalty miss
Chennai Super Kings were woeful on the field, and the effort was summed up by Bravo's missed run-out in the 17th over. Steven Smith dug out a yorker from Bravo and charged down the pitch in search of a non-existent single. He was stranded mid-pitch when Bravo reached the ball. Bravo could have done a quick net run-rate calculation on the side, and would have still had enough time to effect the run-out. However, Bravo did not know how hopeless Smith's position was, and tried to kick the ball onto the stumps. He missed from three yards away, with Smith having given up way behind him.
The biggest of Warner's eight sixes came in the final over. He got under a full toss from CSK's resident New South Welshman, Doug Bollinger, and levered it miles into the air over the leg side. M Vijay, the fielder at long-on, knew that Warner had got more height than he would have wanted and set himself up on the boundary. Unknown to him, though, Warner had got as much distance as height on the shot. The ball landed on the roof of the stands behind the Anna Pavilion and rolled out of reach, even as Vijay squinted into the night in awe.
MS Dhoni has grown accustomed to enthralling his home crowd in the IPL, but this has been an utterly forgettable tournament for him. CSK's chances of making the semi-finals were subsiding even as he walked out at the fall of the second wicket. The Chepauk crowd were still hoping for a miracle, and welcomed their captain with a rousing cheer. Would he go for the big hits from the outset? Would he target the inexperienced spinner? The expectations met with an anti-climactic end when Dhoni leaned out and defended Steve O' Keefe into the covers. The crowd cheered again, but this time they were mocking.
The near mix-up
With the asking-rate spiralling out of bounds, Suresh Raina's slog-heaves against O'Keefe's left-arm spin was CSK's last hope. After lashing a six and a four in the tenth over, he tried to repeat the shot off the last ball. This time he top-edged it and the ball looped up towards short third-man. Raina knew he didn't stand a chance, and began to walk away immediately. The wicketkeeper Daniel Smith quickly moved under the ball, but Stuart Clark from third man was sprinting in too. Suddenly Raina realised the possibility of a mix-up and stopped on his tracks. Clark and Daniel Smith converged and looked set to collide as the ball hurtled down. At the very last moment, though, Smith pulled out to allow Clark to complete the take, and Raina quickened his march to the dug-out.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo