Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians, IPL final, Kolkata May 26, 2013

Morris blows kisses, Pollard responds

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in Kolkata

The hello
Chennai Super Kings had done half their job when they got Mumbai Indians' No. 6 in as early as the 10th over, but the warning was immediate lest they relax. Kieron Pollard came in, defended a length ball outside off, on the up, and it flew off the bat, straight of mid-off for four. It was a sign of things to come.

The field
MS Dhoni does go with a very straight mid-off for Pollard, a practice he began in the 2010 IPL final, but tonight he took it to next extreme. On this night, Suresh Raina, the mid-off, stood right next to the bowler as he began his run. One move to his right, and Raina would have been invisible to Pollard because that would have taken him right behind the umpire.

The placement
In the 17th over of the Mumbai innings, Pollard drove hard at a delivery from Chris Morris. It turned out to be a slower ball, and Pollard was way early into the shot. The bat slipped out of his hand, and flew nearly as far as the ball did. However, there was no midwicket this time, and nobody was hurt.

The kiss
Later in the same over, Pollard pulled Morris away for four, which the bowler didn't like. Or perhaps he liked it in particular because after fielding the next ball in his follow-through Morris blew a kiss at Pollard. The batsman blew a kiss back to Morris. Phone numbers weren't exchanged.

The reluctant batsman
Dhoni doesn't like batting in the first 10 overs. He took that obsession to an extent where S Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja were all sent ahead of him. Mumbai gladly kept taking the wickets, and Dhoni had to eventually come out to bat in the seventh over. The asking rate was nearing nine by now.

The send-off
In an earlier sledging contest, M Vijay had told Mitchell Johnson to "take it easy, man" after hitting a four. Johnson, though, came back with a bouncer aimed right at the throat during the second spell, and all Vijay managed was a top edge. Johnson didn't take it easy this time, man, and celebrated in Vijay's face.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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