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Plays of the day for the Champions League final between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians
Andrew Fidel Fernando
October 6, 2013
Shane Watson should have had Sachin Tendulkar out for 1 when he struck him mid-pad in front of middle and leg, but having survived that shout, Tendulkar seemed to hit form in Watson's next over, the first two balls of which he sent to the fence. A full delivery on the pads was glanced to fine leg, before Tendulkar unfurled a commanding cover drive suggesting even more strongly that he was in good touch. Next ball though, Watson jagged one back in from outside off stump, and aiming another big drive on the off side, Tendulkar missed the ball by a distance to have his off stump removed from the ground.
Glenn Maxwell went some way to justifying his million-dollar price tag as he blasted 37 from 14 balls, and the most remarkable stroke in his innings was his four to third man off James Faulkner in the 19th over. In the age of scoops that plunder runs from yorkers and length balls on the stumps, Maxwell improvised a stroke that sent wide yorkers to the fence as well. Getting low with his arms crossed on the bat handle, Maxwell created a ramp almost two feet outside the off stump, and sent the ball over the infield.
Even in Twenty20 cricket batsmen often like to take a few balls to become accustomed to the pitch and the opposition bowlers, but four Mumbai Indians batsmen wasted little time before sending their first one into the stands. Rohit Sharma began the trend on his third ball, launching Stuart Binny's slower one high over long-on, before Maxwell went one better, by depositing his second ball into the legside stand with a pick-up shot. Dinesh Karthik improved the pattern further, when he slogged his first ball into the deep midwicket stand, before Harbhajan Singh followed suit with his own first-ball six on the leg side, off a high full toss.
Kusal Perera had been flown in from Sri Lanka as the injured Brad Hodge's replacement just hours before the match, only to be given short shrift by his partner Ajinkya Rahane in the first over. Having hit two fours off his first three balls, Perera pushed one wide of cover and immediately called Rahane through, never taking his eyes off the ball to look at his partner. Rahane too was staring at the ball and though it was Perera's call, he yelled "no" loudly, when his partner was about a third of the way down the pitch. Perhaps not hearing this though, and possibly pulsing with finals-adrenaline, Perera continued to sprint down the pitch, though Rahane remained stationary. It wasn't until the bails were being removed at a vacant strikers' end that the batsmen looked at each other, sporting expressions of anger and frustration.
Shane Watson and Kieron Pollard engaged in a tussle of egos in the 13th over of Royals' innings, and though Watson got the better of Pollard during the over, Pollard had the last laugh in the next. Pollard had run in to deliver the last ball of his over, but failed to release the ball although he went through the action. This prompted animated words from Watson, who went back to smash the next ball high into the stands behind midwicket, inciting more chatter between the players. Next over though, Watson's slog off Harbhajan Singh flew high into the air off the top edge, and it was Pollard who advanced from long-on to take the chance.
The inglorious finish
One of the most admirable careers of the modern age got the kind of ill-deserved ignominious end that only Twenty20 cricket can provide, as Rahul Dravid made his last act on a professional cricket field an awful swipe across the line. Having moved around the order to suit the team's needs during his limited-overs, and even his Test career, Dravid demoted himself to No. 8 in his last match, and arrived at the crease at a time when plenty of boundaries were needed. He dug out a single first up, but when Nathan Coulter-Nile delivered the kind of humdrum yorker that Dravid would have patted firmly back to the bowler in all his years as 'The Wall', he instead aimed a slog to midwicket, and had his leg stump flattened.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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