Maiden overs, and why you don't hit Ashwin for a six
How many times do you see maidens in Twenty20 cricket? How many times do you see them inside the field restrictions? Three if Pune warriors and Chennai Super Kings are playing in Mumbai. It began with Doug Bollinger removing Jesse Ryder and Mohnish Mishra with short deliveries in one over, and conceding no runs to top that. Pune came out defending a below-par 141 with a maiden first up. Alfonso Thomas bowled a good mix of outswingers and straight deliveries to Michael Hussey to achieve that. In the fifth over of the innings, Murali Kartik went one better to claim Hussey's wicket in another maiden over.
With R Ashwin rushing through his overs, Robin Uthappa was visibly annoyed, and pulled out of three deliveries in two overs to bide time. Soon, though, he found the best way to make sure the bowler doesn't hurry him up. He just tonked Ashwin out of the ground. Can't rush if you don't have the ball in your hand, can you?
Hitting Ashwin for a six might have had the desired effect momentarily, but a closer investigation into it will show hitting Ashwin for a six is full of risk. Of the six sixes that he has been hit for in this IPL, on three occasions he has had his own back. Immediately. Mahela Jayawardene hit for a six and a four off him off successive deliveries. Gone next ball. Jesse Ryder hit him for another two days ago, and Ashwin came back with an armer with a wet ball to take the middle stump out. Uthappa tempted his fate today by hitting Ashwin for a second six. Mistake. The next one was a carrom ball that took the leading edge. Gone.
The sneaky dismissal
Nobody knew of it for a while. It was a regulation big inswinger from Nuwan Kulasekara, which went through Mithun Manhas' gate. The ball fell in front of MS Dhoni, and went through. The batsmen were busy running the byes, and the umpire getting into position in case he be needed to adjudicate on a run-out call. Kulasekara, though, spotted that the leg bail was missing, and appealed ever so politely. The replays confirmed the ball had kissed the missing bail on the way, which in fact caused the ball to dip in front of Dhoni.
The short ball
It has long been India's bane in limited-overs cricket, but Dhoni has now started using it to his advantage. With Bollinger at his disposal he has given Pune a good dose of bouncers in back-to-back games. Today, Bollinger's three wickets all came off deliveries pitched in his own half. Here's the twist, though. Two of those victims were not Indian: Ryder and Mitchell Marsh.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo