Highlights from the first week of the ICL October 26, 2008

Sodhi's outrageous paddle-scoop, and Saqlain's teesra

Cricinfo staff
Highlights of the first half of the ICL's second season

The first half of games in the second season of the Indian Cricket League is over. Cricinfo looks at some of the highlights:

Ian Harvey combined with G Vignesh to bring up his team's 50 in only 17 balls, but the record didn't last very long © ICL

The shot
A thin line separates bravado and foolishness. Reetinder Singh Sodhi walked that line against Shane Bond, who was operating around 135kmph. At one point, Sodhi went down on his knees to a good-length delivery on middle stump and paddle-scooped it straight over the wicketkeeper's head for an outrageous six.

The ball
Saqlain Mushtaq, that innovator, was at it again. The doosra is passé now, so he decided to flip in a teesra (the third one). At the point of release, he had his palm facing towards midwicket instead of cover, which would be the normal position when bowling the conventional offbreak and doosra to a right-hand batsman. He then rolled his fingers over the seam, and the outcome was a topspinner. It was quite effective too - more than one batsman fell victim to this delivery.

Fastest fifty
G Vignesh and Ian Harvey combined to bring up the Chennai Superstars' fifty in 17 balls, the fastest in the tournament at the time, against the Dhaka Warriors. The record didn't last long though: the Lahore Badshahs' Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat got there in 15 balls in the carnage against the Mumbai Champs.

The run out
Murray Goodwin's effort to get rid of R Jesuraj wins the vote. He dived to his left at backward point to make a spectacular one-handed stop, but he wasn't done yet. By the time he flipped over quickly, the ball mysteriously appeared in his right hand and he fired in a direct hit even as he lay sprawled on the ground.

The hundred
Alok Kapali hit thefirst century in the ICL, but he couldn't end up on the winning side. In the Asia Cup, he had hit a stunning hundred, his first in ODIs, against India but was upstaged by Gautam Gambhir. Here, Chris Harris managed to push the Hyderabad Heroes past the line in the last over.

The crowd
Partisanship is a celebrated commodity in a city-based tournament like the ICL, and is often a mark of success of the competition. The ICL head honchos would have been delighted with the crowds in Ahmedabad. A packed stadium of 40,000 people shouted their lungs out for the home team, booed the opponents and generally created quite a ruckus.

The best bowling spell
Upul Chandana's 4 for 21 against the Lahore Badshahs wins the contest. It was an intelligent spell of legspin bowling. He not only varied his pace, length and trajectory but also the degree of turn. He also changed his style according to the stature of the batsman. Against lesser batsmen like Tahir Mughal he flighted the ball, but pushed the ball through and kept it full to Inzamam-ul-Haq, who swept him couple of times. Suddenly, he dropped one short but got it to hurry through straight and Inzamam could only nick the attempted cut shot. He anticipated the batsmen's moves well. Sensing Imran Farhat might try to jump out, he dragged back the length and pushed it slightly wider outside off to leave his man stranded outside the crease. Realising Azhar Mahmood was itching to go for the slog sweep, he floated a ball well outside off and Mahmood couldn't clear deep midwicket.

The catch
There's been nothing so far to challenge last edition's special, but Abhishek Jhunjhunwala got close. Mahmood slog swept Chandana to deep midwicket. Jhunjhunwala ran to his right along the boundary rope, extended his arms as the ball dipped and somehow managed to catch the ball without going over the boundary. The right foot was barely an inch away from the rope.

The repartee
"Inzy bhai, you have lost two matches in a row," asked a reporter in a post-match ceremony after Lahore lost their second game in a row. Inzamam looked up, locked his eyes with the questioner and drawled, "Thank you. I know that." Uncomfortable silence. Craig McMillain, sitting adjacent to Inzamam, had a look at Inzamam before bursting out into laughter. Everyone joined in. Inzamam smiled.