Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2014, Sharjah April 20, 2014

The Mexican standoff, and the set-up

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals
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The debut
Given the regular auctions in the IPL, most of the players are likely to have been around the block, but when you take out a rampaging batsman with your first ball for a new team, it sure is a special moment. When Murali Kartik was brought on in the seventh over, Rajasthan Royals had reached 54 for 1, and Mitchell Johnson had been hit around as if these batsmen had not even watched the Ashes and the Test series in South Africa. Kartik, though, bowled an arm ball, and beat Abhishek Nayar on the sweep. Replays showed the ball pitching marginally outside leg, but the scorers logged Nayar lbw Kartik 23 (20), and the spinner had vindicated his captain's decision to pick him ahead of an allrounder.

The slippery catch
The fielding in this IPL has been poor even by the league's modest standards, what with two catches having already been dropped by the time Staurt Binny pulled one to David Miller at long-on. Miller had already missed Shane Watson when his reverse cups came in front of his eyes and he lost the ball. This time his view wasn't obscured, but the ball still slipped through. Miller, though, had the presence of mind to not tumble over but to dig his knees into the ground after he realised the ball had lodged itself between his legs. Incredibly he kept his legs together too. Freddie Trueman would have approved.

The Mexican standoff
At the start of the chase, Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara stook at the striker's end without doing much or showing any inclination to move to their respective ends. As you wondered what was happening, you saw at the other end three Rajasthan Royals players waiting to see which batsman was going to take strike, so they could decide whom to give the new ball to. Sehwag and Pujara, though, refused to budge. Sehwag leaned on his bat at the wicket and Pujara kept loosening up by the side of it, until it was decided that Kane Richardson would bowl the first over. Then the Kings XI openers changed their minds, and Sehwag let Pujara take strike.

The set-up Sehwag might have won that standoff, but he didn't last long enough to celebrate it. Royals had a specific plan for him, and their bowlers executed it perfectly. The instructions were clear: bowl short and hostile, and into his body. One of the first six balls bowled to Sehwag turned out to be a wide down the leg side, but four of those six balls were dots. And as Shane Watson sensed pressure building, he placed a deep point. When Sehwag is frustrated, that is not merely a boundary-saving position; it is a catching man. The next ball was slightly wide, Sehwag threw his arms at it, and Stuart Binny at deep point didn't even have to move a metre to take the catch.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • MWaqqar on April 21, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    MI selectors / coaches must be pulling their hair that they let go Maxi.

  • maddystevens on April 20, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Hail Maxwell, Miller. Three cheers.

  • on April 20, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    well played glen maxwell, david miller. i see KXIP in play offs this time

  • MWaqqar on April 21, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    MI selectors / coaches must be pulling their hair that they let go Maxi.

  • maddystevens on April 20, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Hail Maxwell, Miller. Three cheers.

  • on April 20, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    well played glen maxwell, david miller. i see KXIP in play offs this time

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on April 20, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    well played glen maxwell, david miller. i see KXIP in play offs this time

  • maddystevens on April 20, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Hail Maxwell, Miller. Three cheers.

  • MWaqqar on April 21, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    MI selectors / coaches must be pulling their hair that they let go Maxi.