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The Plays of the day from the match between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, in Chennai
April 22, 2013
The direct hit
Rahul Dravid may be 40 years old, and retired from international cricket, but already in this IPL he has shown sparks of brilliance in the field. There was the reflex one-handed catch of Robin Uthappa against Pune Warriors earlier, and this time, with Chennai Super Kings seeming cruising to victory, he produced a slide-rule throw from backward point that caught Man-of-the-Match Michael Hussey short of his ground, and pulled Rajasthan Royals back into the game.
Soon after that terrific bit of fielding, and with the match heading for a tense finish, Dravid misfielded in the covers to concede the extra run, which brought Dhoni back on strike. Dravid kicked the air in frustration at the mistake. Dhoni hit the next ball for four, increasing Dravid's annoyance. To top it off, the next delivery came towards Dravid and should have been a single. He collected cleanly and tossed the ball up, in disappointment at his previous miss. In an attempt to snatch the ball with his right hand, he only succeeding in slapping the ball away and conceded another run.
Ravindra Jadeja had a sensational game against Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday, taking three wickets and scoring a 14-ball 36 on a track everyone else struggled on. Things didn't work out as well for him today, as Shane Watson whacked him around the stadium. His first two overs were taken for 27, and the first ball of his third was clubbed for six by Watson. Jadeja was clearly under pressure, so much so that his second delivery was hurled so far outside off that it would have been a wide even in a Test. More displays like these, and the Sir Jadeja jokes will quickly die out.
"Two things you should never do: cut a spinner and pat a burning dog," Matt Prior famously said. Ajinkya Rahane learned the value of that cricketing advice in the eighth over of the match. Chennai Super Kings' trump bowler R Ashwin, who has bowled plenty of legspinners this season, got a flighted offbreak to spin in a long way. Rahane shaped for the cut but the sharp turn was too good for him, and the ball crashed into the stumps, to end a breakneck opening partnership. "Ash good as it gets," said the giant screen.
The evasive action
With Watson in a murderous mood, it wasn't only the Super Kings bowlers who were at the receiving end. In the fifth over, Watson hammered a flighted delivery from Ashwin straight back down the ground. It was a flat hit that screamed towards the umpire, who seemed set for a painful blow. At the last moment, though, he leapt as though performing a jumping jack and the ball zipped between his legs for four. The next delivery was almost punched back - not with as much power though - and the umpire had to duck to get out of the way this time.
Watson could have been dismissed as early as the fifth over. After powering his way to 32, he pushed the ball to the right of Suresh Raina at extra cover and set off for a non-existent single. Raina is one of the best fielders in the tournament, and he was onto the ball quickly. He had only one stump to aim at, and missed - with Watson already having given up.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
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