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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    I dont know why KKR is not fielding Brendon McCullum and Brett Lee. They should bring these two in places of Senanayake and Morgan. Yes, morgan is doing well but Brendon could keep the wickets and KKR should bring a full fledged batsman.

  • Rajesh on April 25, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Why blame Harbhajan for it- it is the money which these blokes make that makes them arrogant. The other day when Gayle Storm hit Chinnaswamy, I had the privilige of seeing the DUD Saurabh Tiwary in action on the field. The bloke looked like a WWF wrestler who has come to a cricket field by mistake. Is he worried about wearing India colours- I doubt it. Mallya has paid him enough and more for him couple of Generations. Luckily the IPL is doing one great thing for Indian Cricket- it sorting out the over hyped ones like the Yusuf Pathans, Harbhajans, Tiwarys etc. Its making sure that the selectors never ever think of them during team selection.

  • Sudeep on April 25, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    harbhajan was a good cricket player, but never a sportsman! There is no place for such behavior in cricket, but then again IPL is not cricket!

  • Sunny on April 25, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    Personally I like to watch a match with Harbhajan features in it. Entertainment is almost guaranteed! Be it an explosive first over or a six of the last over. And not to forget all the nice things he does and says in the muddle!

  • suresh on April 25, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    I think it is sad, when one cannot be in control of oneself. In cricket, a batsman is supposed to score and a bowler is supposed to take wickets.I have never seen a batsman who is bowled first ball, go and abuse the bowler for it !

  • Sudhir on April 25, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    Reference whether the McCullum problem of Lights coming in the way of the catch: Would dark goggles have helped?

  • Zsam on April 24, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    Why do some bowlers start abusing batsmen if they are taken for runs? Well you should either measure up or take it on the chin, like a man. Now in this case, what Harbhajan did was indefensible. Just bcoz you took a lucky chance and succeeded, does in no way justify abusive behavior to someone who took you out fair and square. It wasn't that Harbhajan's hands were tied while bowling. He has never really outgrown the loutish behavior. And I suspect, he'll be remembered more for such acts than his cricketing feats.

  • Priyanku on April 24, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    whatever people say,bhajji has been one of the most dedicated indian cricketers on-field.he may be in terrible form now,but he has always worn the national cap with pride n passion! unlike some modern players who have their places granted through some favoritism..they dont know what playing for d country means! bhajji has lost all his bite in bowling,but that does not merit so harsh criticism!! after all,he n yuvraj are d only cricketers to have carried d explicit passion developed under ganguly which was so good to see!after all, his priceless six helped MI win today!so give credit where due!

  • Dummy4 on April 24, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    I would never call Bhajji a "Fighter". He goes into shell when ever he is taken for runs. His recovery time is too long and by that time your service is no longer needed(match result would be obevious ). A fighting spirit means you raise up to the occasion when you face a real challence or when you are forced to perform out of your comfort zone.You are expected to deliver, when you are challenged during the tuff time, not on your successful day. Defenitly Bhajji doesn't have it expect giving roars when he takes a wicket. In that sense, i would call Dada , Rahul, MSD,GG and Anil as real fighters.

  • Sandy on April 24, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    Harbhajan Singh is the most overrated bowler in the history of world cricket. And such a sour loser that it defies belief. And to think he was made captain for them. Such a character should never ever be allowed on the sports field. No wonder he has so very few fans even in India!

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