Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014, Abu Dhabi April 18, 2014

The captain's blunder

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi

The auspicious date
On April 18, 2008, Brendon McCullum gave the IPL a dream start by clobbering 158 off 73 balls in its inaugural game at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. He was opening for Kolkata at the time and the innings was a career-defining one. Six years later, to the day, McCullum was playing for Chennai for the first time and he sizzled as hot as the Abu Dhabi afternoon, scoring 67 off 45 balls.

The good and the bad
In the second over, McCullum skipped down the pitch as Parvinder Awana dropped short and forehanded the ball fiercely over the infield at cover for four. The next ball, McCullum stayed back to a short delivery and hooked. The ball disappeared for four again, but this time via a top edge over the wicketkeeper's head.

The bad and the ugly
McCullum was trying to smash most deliveries and in the fifth over he hit one hard and flat to mid-on, where the Punjab captain George Bailey moved to his left but dropped the catch. McCullum was on 22 at the time and he charged at the next delivery and launched it over the long-on boundary for the second of five sixes. Things were about to get much uglier for Punjab.

The worthy successors
Chennai have always enjoyed the luxury of prolific opening combinations - Michael Hussey and Matthew Hayden, and then M Vijay and Hussey. For the 2014 season, they unveiled brand new openers in McCullum and Dwayne Smith, who had a standard to maintain. When McCullum pulled Mitchell Johnson over the midwicket boundary off the fifth ball of the sixth over, Chennai had reached 70. It was their best Powerplay score in seven seasons. The opening partnership seemed to be in safe hands.

The numbers
The Punjab openers had unusual numbers on their jerseys. Virender Sehwag sported 319 and Cheteshwar Pujara 266. Both were references to a format far removed from the one their franchise is a part of. Sehwag's best Test score is 319, and Pujara was India's 266th Test player.

The shot
Glenn Maxwell is not an orthodox batsman, so it was not surprising to see him attempt an outlandish shot off his first ball. What was remarkable, however, was his execution. As R Ashwin came round the wicket and bowled far outside the right-hand batsman's leg stump, Maxwell got into position to play the reverse swat. He took the ball from near the wide line and placed it between the fielders at cover and point to find the boundary.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Comical to see how the 2 easy let offs against both the finishers - Maxwell and Miller is not mentioned. It is the only turning point.

    Mentioning Mc Cullum's drop doesnt make sense as CSK had Raina, Dhoni, BRavo and Jadeja to play. So it wouldnt have been costly at all.

    Also dropped catches against chasing team are the turning points and blunders than against the team batting first.

    Cricinfo's analysis is dipping, sad!

  • Harry on April 18, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    Not sure why MSD is so bad at team selection, he really lacks in this area as a captain both for Ind and now for CSK. He should have gone with Smith, McCullum, Bravo and Hilfenhaus/Badree today for overseas players. For Indian players he should have brought in Pandey for Nehra. CSK lacked bowlers period. If this was RCB they would have finished the match in 15 overs. Apart from Ashwin no one even tried to take wickets to slow the scoring. Jadeja has lost his form so Badree and Ashwin would have made a big difference. Negi was useless and too much pressure on him.

    As far winning the toss MSD should have bowled first given that they can chase scores easily with Smith, McCullum and Bravo in his team. Poor captaincy yet again from MSD with team selection, toss and most of all attitude.

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    CSK made a blunder in the team composition. How can they sit out Badree? They must find a way to fit him in... Currently CSK. Bowling is a bit weak... Also Dhoni made a blunder in finishing Ashwin's quota of overs by the 15 th over. Ashwin has got to bowl the 17th and 19th overs Orr else the 18th and 20th overs.. Once his quota finishes the batsman play with a free mind. So poor team composition and poor captaincy ensured CSK lost.. Wonder why Suresh Raina was not used? Another blunder...

  • prash on April 18, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    csk shud know dat catches win matches.....nxt tym csk shud try experimenting with matt henry instead of plessis and another indian batsman wud come thr... by the lok today csk has no problems in the batting department but disastrous in the bowling except for ashwin...henry has raw pace which was missed today...

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    I think that #Mumbai Indians will be disipointed as they have not retain Maxwell who Give them the Champions League Cup.

  • joff on April 18, 2014, 15:08 GMT

    plz plz don pick nehra, hes not good at death bowling and his fielding is very poor as expected. he will not live upto chennai standard.hes the reason behind chennais loss against punjab. chennai fans will get more and more furious after his poor showing in each game. plz pick ishwar pandey or someone else doesn't matter if they give runs but most importantly should be a good fielder(ny way nehra also gives runs). my option is replace faf duplesis with hilfenous.

  • Kausthub on April 18, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    Too many missed catches cost CSK the match.... For the next game Nehra should be sacked!!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.