Kolkata Knight Riders v Kochi Tuskers, IPL 2011, Eden Gardens April 20, 2011

Mahela Nostradamus

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kochi Tuskers at Eden Gardens

The predicton
What's a good score in a Twenty20 game? Some captains might say 160-170, others will say they don't know, and Ian Chappell will say one more than what the opposition gets. So Mahela Jayawardene, the Kochi captain, surprised a few people when he pegged a defendable total at Eden Gardens as low as 130-140. He had seen slowness in the pitch and included Muttiah Muralitharan in the XI for that reason. Gautam Gambhir, Mahela's counterpart, later said Kolkata should have chased the target easily. They had fallen six short. Kochi had made 132.

The manipulation
Jayawardene would glide towards leg against the left-arm spinners as they darted the ball into him from round the wicket, making room to cut, sometimes from middle stump. He did so against Shakib Al Hasan, and it looked dangerous. When Shakib darted the next ball in, however, anticipating another move to leg, Jayawardene nimbly moved towards the off, got down on one knee inside the line, and swept to the fine-leg boundary. He toyed with Iqbal Abdulla in the same manner as well.

The ripper
Off the final ball of the tenth over of Kolkata's chase, Murali gave evidence of just why he had been played on this pitch. From round the wicket, he tossed the offbreak into Eoin Morgan. The ball gripped the slow surface, bounced sharply and spun away from the left-hand batsman. Morgan had begun to push at the delivery but then stopped, unsure of what to do, and left his bat hanging outside off. The ball seemed to hit the edge and fly past between the wicketkeeper and short third man. It had deviated that much. The umpire, however, signaled byes.

How to, and not to field
During Kochi's innings, Vinay Kumar flicked Abdulla off his pads towards deep midwicket. Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the substitute, ran to his left but instead of trying to stop the ball with his hands, he slid feet first, as if he were pulling off a studs-up football tackle. The ball bounced into his legs and over the ropes, and Gambhir reacted with a tea-pot pose. While Kochi were fielding, Raiphi Gomez showed how it should be done. Yusuf Pathan had slammed a wide ball from Ramesh Powar towards the cover boundary. Gomez sprinted to his right, as the ball was swerving away from him, and threw himself full length, hands first, and latched on to the ball.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 22, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    You can not match Mahelas cricketing brain with any other Capitan. Mahela turned the game around with great experience in captaincy. See how he pick the team, selecting who is to bowl and how he used them. Both Brendon and Mahela gave Kochi wonderful start. Remember Kochi team does not have good bowlers when compared to other IPL teams but he used them brilliantly. So deserved MOM award...!!!

  • Mihil on April 22, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    Hey,Big wonder,sorry mate,but you have no cricketing brain.It's not always the best bowler wins the match.It's the manipulations small tricks that turn around matches.Mahela was all over the place in that match.Encouraging bowlers,fielders asking their opinion. Rigorous field placements.And that's not enough captain should be exemplary as well. He batted and fielded and got the runout. He was inspirational to other team members.And he was very appreciative of Jadeja as well. Your logic of severel points is only what's flawed. 29 or 25 in any means not a huge score.132 is not a good score.At one stage KKR needed 36 from 26 deli. and Yusuf pathan was batting. perfectly doable. Mahela turned the game around with great experience in captaincy. He was the star that night.(The Man) Well Mahela could share his money, but I don't think he should do that.that undermines his credit.Sachin felt he should share because his effort was(he felt) not that superb.(he couldn't win after scoring 100)

  • Darshika on April 22, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    As many of you say mahela was just doing his job so was jadeja,he is put in there to bat,if mahela didnt predict the right score for the team to defend and possibly have a bowling plan to execute while playing a few valuable runs and do some fielding i doubt the team wouldve won.if mahela had said 150 was a par score obviously towards the end all batsmen wouldve been swinging their bat to get that score because that is what they are mentally prepared to defend.in the process wickets may have fallen. its not the greater effort that is usually given the MOM award,its the person who contributed the most towards the win who gets it.it were the greater effort then we would see the tendulkar getting the MOM for his 100 though his team lost. jadeja did bat 29 but didnt stay long enough to take the RESPONSIBILITY of finishing the game .

  • Big on April 21, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    As most of you have have tried to justify Jayawardene's player of the match, the logic is flawed. By that logic, in all most all games the player of the match should go to the Captain - they take risk, they pick who will bowl, etc. I totally disagree with this logic. The player of match is the one who contributes above and beyond - I did not see that in Jayawardene's innings.

  • Bheem on April 21, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Would have been nice if Mahela had shared the award + prize money with Jadeja, as the Little Master did with Ambati Rayadu in Bangalore.

  • Bheem on April 21, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    Jadeja absolutely deserved the MoM award. 29 runs in a crisis in a low scoring game... not to mention 2 wkts and very economical bowling. Mahela batted in a relatively pressure free situation, and while Dar gave him out wrongly, he should have been given out LBW much earlier to Iqbal Abdulla when he was hit in front of off stump.

  • harsha on April 21, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    @bigwonder: both r better,but Mahela did the best job by the captaincy!

  • Dummy4 on April 21, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Mahela got MOM because:

    -He got 25 runs at the start of the innings (2nd highest total) -Excellent captaincy to defend such a small total + an impressive prediction -Running out morgan at a crucial point -He was given out when he was not

  • Dummy4 on April 21, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    What can you say he is one of the best captain's in the world and we as Sri Lankans yet miss him as our captain

  • Mihil on April 21, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    Nice nickname Nostradamus......

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