Balaji's ripper and Warne's deception
The jaffa that worked
L Balaji has faded so much from the national reckoning that he's managed a solitary ODI in almost six years. But he keeps coming up with notable performances in the IPL, as he did today with three wickets. The first of those was off a ripper that left an in-form Shane Watson clueless. Balaji angled it in on middle stump and Watson set himself up to play it on the leg side. To his horror, it zipped away and hit the top of off. The ball brought back memories of Balaji's brilliance against Pakistan in 2004.
The jaffa that didn't work
Nothing went right for Rajasthan Royals today, and even a beauty from Watson could not get them a wicket. He angled one across Gautam Gambhir who came forward to push the ball on the off side. But suddenly, the ball changed its line completely, straightening sharply and coming into Gambhir who was in no position to adjust. Unfortunately for Watson, the ball not only missed the inside edge, but also missed the off stump by a whisker.
The presence-of-mind moment
After having deceived Amit Paunikar with flight and turn, Iqbal Abdulla produced another moment of inspiration. Abhishek Raut pushed a delivery on the leg side and thought that there could be a run. Faiz Fazal, the non-striker, thought so even more, and rushed across. Abdulla went charging after the ball, swooped down on it and picked it up. Raut had seen this and had backed off, Fazal had not. Abdulla prepared to throw towards the keeper, but realising that Fazal was way outside his crease, changed his mind and scored a direct hit at the non-striker's end to send Fazal packing.
The double-deception moment
Shane Warne bowled a superb spell despite having only 81 runs to defend. He troubled the batsmen with his flight, turn and variations on a pitch that aided him and also kept low at times. Manvinder Bisla was struggling to pick him and thought he had a chance for a big hit when Warne tossed up a generous legbreak. But even as he prepared to heave, the ball dipped alarmingly on him. He changed his mind and tried to cut, but it turned away sharply and went low to the keeper.
The excited gloveman
Rajasthan knew their only chance was to get some wickets. There was help for the bowlers from the pitch and there were quite a few close calls. All this got Paunikar excited and he went up for almost everything. In the opening over of the chase, Bisla missed an attempted drive off Shaun Tait and Paunikar appealed right away for caught-behind. Bisla missed again in Tait's next over, and again Paunikar thought he had caught it off the edge. Manoj Tiwary then got beaten by Warne only for Paunikar to take the ball and jump up. On all three occasions, the appeal was turned down.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo