Kolkata v Rajasthan, IPL 2011, Kolkata

Balaji's ripper and Warne's deception

Plays of the Day from the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens

Abhishek Purohit

April 17, 2011

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

L Balaji got Shane Watson cheaply with a peach, Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata, April 17, 2011
Balaji: Turning it on © AFP
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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

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Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 19:34 GMT)

No surprise at Warne's criticim of team. But also curious to ask one question, what is Warne's cotribution to the team as a player. I know that he is a coah as well and might be doing well. But, as a player (foreign player) he hasn't done someting significant since IPL2. Teams can play only 4 foreign players, & isn't it better to play Botha or Oram in place of Warne? Botha can bat well, hit hard, and bowls beautifully. On the other hand, Oram is a good meduim pacer, and a pinch hitter. With due respect, somehow I'm having the feeling that RR is not picking their best XI. Anywayz, best of luck to the team.

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 13:34 GMT)

great comeback by L.Balaji.... CSK gonna miss them badly for ipl 4 for sure.... Kudos kkr

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 10:33 GMT)

There is no regional talent in this kolkata team...just proves that kolkata cricketers have all been loosers just for the exception of ganguly

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 8:25 GMT)

if rajasthan royal wanna win then.....they shd change shane warne as captain....as he s taking too much risky decision.. how can he drop rahul dravid and include faizel.........and highest run maker botha for rr..........if he s not captain and if we choose between botha and warne........then def botha s first choice.........as rr has weak bating.........

Posted by indianzen on (April 18, 2011, 6:02 GMT)

All TN players are doing well both in IPL and with the IPL money - Ashwin, Balaji, Badri, Vijay, Yomahesh and so on...

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 5:37 GMT)

shakib running great....cheer up for KKR

Posted by vaidy on (April 18, 2011, 4:49 GMT)

All's not lost. With Ashish Nehra unwilling to play in tests, 'here-now-gone-now' attitude of Munaf and the inability of the likes of Irfan and Ishanth to grab their chances with both hands, Balaji might still have a chance. AFter all, didn't a certain Zak Khan make it back to the team at or around 28-29 years of age and look where he is now?!

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 4:25 GMT)

With all due respect to balaji who is a fine bowler.It was an average ball, Clarke was a little careless in his across the line shot. It was an average ball made to look great because of a clumsy/casual shot by watson

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 4:07 GMT)

Well done KKR. I think the team is doing really well without Ganguly. Way to go SRK.

Posted by MKLNarayan on (April 18, 2011, 3:56 GMT)

@mdrahman789... you forgot to mention about Yusuf Pathan and Iqbal Abdulla who both took a wicket each for KKR giving just 28 runs in 5 overs between them...

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