Dharamsala revisited, and the dugout catch
MS Dhoni and Irfan Pathan have some history in the IPL. Dhoni had pulverised Irfan for consecutive sixes in the final over against Kings XI Punjab to take Chennai Super Kings in to the semi-finals of IPL 2010. Irfan had been largely economical today, having gone for 28 with only two deliveries left in his fourth over, again the final one of the innings. Knowing that anything on a length against Dhoni would disappear, Irfan targeted the blockhole. It was going to be a high-risk strategy, and as it turned out, the fifth delivery turned in to a low full toss. Six over midwicket. Irfan stuck to his guns and again went for the yorker. Another full toss. Six over deep square leg. The 12 runs helped in the end as the winning margin was 18.
The one that didn't swing
Before he was taken apart by Dhoni, Irfan had been hard to get away, getting controlled movement with the new ball. His first ball went away from Michael Hussey, and was taken for a single. Hussey watched from the other end as the next two sharply came back in to M Vijay. On strike for the fourth ball, Hussey did not commit fully forward, waited for the ball to move away and cracked it past extra cover. The fifth one straightened and was played out quietly. The sixth one was the sucker punch. It kept the batsman guessing on the back foot. Hussey expected it to move away, but it went straight on. He tried to bring the bat down late but the ball had already struck him plumb in front.
Aaron checks in
Varun Aaron had impressed with his pace in his first IPL game against Punjab. Today, he did so with the steep bounce he got. Consistently bowling from short of a good length, his second delivery flew to the wicketkeeper above head height. Vijay, who had already swung Ajit Agarkar for two sixes, was pegged on the back foot with well-directed bouncers. Aaron was unlucky to have Vijay dropped in the covers, but he got Suresh Raina with the bouncer. The first ball he bowled to Raina was short outside off and beat the batsman on the cut. The third ball was aimed at his throat, Raina instinctively went for the pull, and Irfan accepted the catch at long leg.
The dugout catch
Chennai caught safely in the field today, and even off it. Venugopal Rao lofted Shadab Jakati over Raina at long-off. Raina thought he had a chance, went backwards and lunged for the ball but it went over him and in to the Chennai dugout. Raina overbalanced and flew in to his sitting team-mates, bringing Faf du Plessis down. A metre away, Suraj Randiv wondered what the fuss was all about as he calmly stood up and took the 'catch' cleanly with a smile on his face.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo