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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the day from the final of the Champions League T20
October 9, 2011
Series/Tournaments: Nokia Champions League T20
The somnolent start
The final was the MA Chidambaram Stadium's only chance to see Chris Gayle in action, and the stands were abuzz with anticipation in the lead-up to the game. Gayle's first sighting wasn't the most flattering though. Aiden Blizzard pushed the first ball of the game firmly to the right of extra-cover, and it should have been cut off by Gayle who only had to move a few paces to his right. Gayle, however, lunged languidly without intent and let the ball dribble past him for the opening runs of the match.
The nonchalant take
In the 16th over, Kieron Pollard tried to launch Daniel Vettori down the ground, but ended up lofting feebly off the outside half of the blade towards wide long-off. The miscue provided the Royal Challengers with an opportunity to get the most dangerous batsman in the Mumbai line-up cheaply. Virat Kohli, however, reacted without betraying any signs of pressure. He trotted to his left, settled under the ball and stuck his hands out to pouch it smoothly. He then turned to the stands behind him and put his finger to the lips, but the crowd had already been silenced by Pollard's exit.
The late call
Lasith Malinga sliced Raju Bhatkal in the 19th over high into the off side, and it seemed inevitable that the ball would settle in the hands of one of the fielders inside the circle. Initially, neither Chris Gayle at backward point, nor S Aravind at short third-man reacted, though. The ball was on its downward trajectory when transmission commenced between the two. Aravind hurriedly scrambled into position and had to tumble forward to complete the catch, and he looked suitably relieved after holding on.
The contest within the contest
Gayle v Malinga was expected to be the contest that would decide the final, but it was Tillakaratne Dilshan who took the fight to his Sri Lankan colleague. He smashed Malinga's first ball through the covers with typical flair, but the needle in the battle came through in Malinga's next over. A length ball from Malinga stayed low and crept under Dilshan's shot, but Ambati Rayudu let the ball roll in between his legs for four byes. Dilshan pumped his fists and roared at Malinga, who smiled embarrassedly as he made his way back to the bowling crease.
Local boy R Sathish produced the most awe-inducing moment of the day. Mayank Agarwal scooped Harbhajan Singh with the turn over towards long-on, but he hadn't timed the ball as well as he could have wanted. Sathish bounded to his left from a very wide long-on, and then leapt across with the left arm stretched out to intercept. The ball landed in his palm, but slipped out when he was fully horizontal, and went over the boundary even as he landed with disappointment writ large over his face.
The third-time-lucky moment
Pollard is normally the safest fielder in the Mumbai side, but he endured a couple of anxious moments before clinging on to Mayank Agarwal's mis-hit. Pollard sprinted in as the shot spiralled down towards long-off. Pollard got his hands under it, but the ball slipped out of his grasp. Fortunately, it bounced right out and in front of him as he continued to run in. Pollard struck out one hand and held it gingerly, but the ball somehow managed to jump out again, this time towards his body. Pollard quickly moved both hands to his left and managed to complete the catch, finally.
The Harmison moment
Mumbai were well on course to their first tournament win when Pollard reprised Steve Harmison's horror start to the 2006 Ashes. He delivered a ball from round the stumps and it slipped out to land around five yards wide of the batsman and well behind the stumps. Astonishingly, Ambati Rayudu, who had endured a wretched tournament as a wicketkeeper, actually managed to collect the shocker.
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Alastair Cook has got used to feeling of the axe hanging over him. Only his team-mates can save England now
They have to see a glass that is half-full, and play the game as if it is just that, a game; and an opportunity