Deccan v Pune, IPL 2011, Hyderabad May 10, 2011

A royal welcome for Ganguly

Plays of the Day from the IPL game betwen Deccan Chargers and Pune Warriors in Hyderabad

The roar
It was almost as if the match was being played out at Eden Gardens. At the toss, when Yuvraj Singh let everybody know that Sourav Ganguly was playing, the half-full stadium in Hyderabad let out a thunderous roar, welcoming back one of Indian cricket's most influential players with much affection even though he was part of the opposing side.

The oops moment
The start to the tournament wasn't a particularly good one for Ganguly, who was the cynosure of all eyes this game. He had stayed out of the limelight on the field for a majority of the Deccan Chargers innings but experienced an embarrassing moment when Bharat Chipli drove one at him in the 16th over. The shot was a firm one and Ganguly failed to get his body behind it at extra cover to concede four runs, much to the crowd's disappointment. He was to make up for it later with the bat, though.

An eventful over
The penultimate over of the Deccan innings, bowled by Mitchell Marsh, was action-packed, to say the least. JP Duminy holed out first ball, Bharat Chipli edged one to the third-man boundary the next, had a return catch dropped immediately after before Sunny Sohal was caught behind by Robin Uthappa, who clasped it one-handed. Amit Mishra fell the next ball, offering a catch to mid-off but the over ended in a bit of an anti-climax, as Dale Steyn rather comfortably survived the hat-trick delivery.

The brothers-in-arms moment
Yuvraj Singh and Daniel Christian burst into spontaneous laughter after Christian tripped due to a collision between the two in the 12th over. Yuvraj tried to field a ball off his own bowling and ran into Christian at the non-striker's end, though it was all in good fun after contact. The oozing camaraderie was put to a stop when Yuvraj trapped him in front in the next over.

The dispiriting moment
Deccan had been restricted to a modest score and needed an encouraging start with the ball but what transpired was the opposite. A steaming Dale Steyn was tamed by Jesse Ryder, who punched him through the covers, then smote him next ball for a massive six into the second tier before crunching him for another four to steal 15 in the first over. It set the tone for the chase, which ended in a comfortable win for Pune Warriors.

The gift
JP Duminy, in an act of generosity towards the visitors, doled out freebies to Manish Pandey in the eighth over. Three absolute long hops, each treated with disdain. Two pulled over midwicket for four and one sent into the crowd. So much for the hospitable treatment.

The trademark shot
Five months of absence but it seemed not much was lost in Ganguly when he made room to Ishant Sharma and slapped him over extra cover for his first boundary. It was fitting that his first forceful shot upon his return was one that defined him during his international career.

The intrusion
Watching fans run onto the field to celebrate their cricketers' success was a common sight once in Indian cricket, but not anymore. However, one fan just couldn't control his emotions while watching Ganguly bat. Not only did he run onto the field for his 15 seconds of fame (not captured on TV), but fell at his idol's feet as devotees blinded by faith do. Who wouldn't want to be a cricketer in India?

The recovery
A moment the TV did capture, that of Christian throwing up during the 13th over. Possibly a bad stomach, possibly dehydration but he recovered quickly. Not only did he finish the over, but in the process dismissed Robin Uthappa with a good bouncer, though was fortunate to get that wicket as Uthappa was given caught-behind after being hit on the shoulder. There was more, when he got rid of Yuvraj Singh not long after.

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments