Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2013, Kolkata April 24, 2013

Harbhajan's send-off to Yusuf, and Pollard's anguish

Plays of the day for the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in Kolkata

The send-off
Asked to bowl the first over of the match, Harbhajan Singh fell short of the costliest start to a Twenty20 match by just one run. Nineteen of those 26 runs were taken by Yusuf Pathan. Clearly the move to give spin first up to Yusuf hadn't worked. And clearly Harbhajan was still smarting when Yusuf edged the first legal delivery after his over (off pacer Mitchell Johnson) straight to him. After finishing the catch, Harbhajan told Yusuf to do things that cannot be mentioned here.

The collision
But neither ugly nor painful. In the seventh over, when Gautam Gambhir drove to the right of Kieron Pollard, he moved to the right in his follow-through, fielded the ball, and ended up almost hugging Jacques Kallis at the non-striker's end, and - in jest, of course - refused to let go for a few seconds. Not sure what Kallis made of it, but Pollard was seen laughing.

The birthday
We are not talking of Sachin Tendulkar. Kumar Dharmasena, standing in this match, turned 42 today, without much fanfare. He didn't have a bad day at office, but not a great one either. In the 12th over, he signalled a bye for what should have been a leg-bye. Then, at the end of the first innings, when he wanted to check the last ball for a no-ball, nobody waited for him. As all retired to the sheds, Dharmasena must have been relieved Lasith Malinga had not overstepped. Otherwise we would have had us some drama.

And later when Tendulkar finally got to face a ball, Dharmasena was put on the spot again as L Balaji appealed for a close lbw. Surely Dharmasena was not going to risk becoming the least popular man in India on his birthday?

The pitch
When Pollard came back to bowl, in the 19th over, Debabrata Das drove the ball in the air, and everybody thought long-off would come around to it, restricting the batsmen to a couple. However, the ball bounced on a practice pitch, and almost topspun away for four, like a table-tennis drive, leaving everybody stunned and Pollard anguished.

The pullout
In the same over, Pollard ran in hard, Manoj Tiwary moved back and across, and Pollard didn't let the ball go. He hadn't slipped or lost his run-up, he was never going to bowl that one. It was just one of those ploys. He wanted to see what Tiwary was going to do. Not that it made much difference: Tiwary pulled the next one for three. There was more anguish for the bowler as a non-Pollard-like effort at the boundary let them convert a two into a three.

The miss
There is something about the Eden Gardens lights that has not been helping the home team. Ten days ago, Eoin Morgan set himself under a catch at long-off, and just when the ball approached him he lost it in the lights. It came in a match Kolkata Knight Riders had wrapped in their bags, but the one today with Brendon McCullum, substituting for Jacques Kallis, came at a crucial time. Mumbai Indians needed 56 off 42 when Pollard hit one flat at long-off only to see McCullum lose the ball in a fashion almost identical to Morgan's. What's more, it was mis-hit so bad it bounced inside the rope.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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