No Audi for Gambhir, scores 1
"Gambhir, please open your account," read a banner as the Kolkata Knight Riders captain walked in to bat after three ducks in a row. He was nearly dismissed first ball again as a leading edge was almost taken by the bowler Sandeep Sharma, who dived to his right and got a hand on the ball but couldn't hold on. There was a Mitchell Johnson bouncer to survive soon after, and then Gambhir guided one to fine leg to score his first run of the season. The relief was short-lived for Gambhir, though, as he chipped a catch to short extra cover without adding to his score. At least he will be spared the "Audi" nickname Mark Waugh earned after scoring four ducks in a row against Sri Lanka in 1992.
Cheteshwar Pujara has played some lengthy innings in this tournament during which he struggled so much some of his fans wished for his dismissal. He didn't last long today, but it was still a struggle. He wafted at his first delivery and was beaten, on his fifth he needed a big stretch to get home in time to complete the second run. After the first ball of the second over, the umpire raised his finger, when Pujara gloved (though his hand was off the handle) a Morne Morkel bouncer to the keeper only to be reprieved as replays showed the bowler had overstepped. Pujara heaved at the free hit and gave a catch to mid-off for a single. He never got the strike back, as he was run-out attempting a quick single three balls later. His luck had run out.
Morkel has been fearsome with the new ball this season, and was causing havoc with his bouncers. However, it was a pinpoint yorker that brought him what is currently the most prized wicket in the tournament. Glenn Maxwell has been laying bowling attacks to waste so far, and it was perhaps the confidence from those knocks which prompted him to move across the stumps and attempt a brash flick against Morkel. Even in this form, though, it was a tough shot to pull off against a 149kph yorker. Maxwell missed, and the ball lasered in to leg stump.
It was the googly that first brought Piyush Chawla fame nearly a decade ago when he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar with it in a Challenger Series match. He showed why it remains a potent weapon in limited-overs cricket, when he confounded a well-set Virender Sehwag, the most destructive player of spin in the Kings XI side, with one that spun in to sneak between bat and pad and take the top of middle stump.
When Mitchell Johnson came out to bat, he was made to look clueless by Sunil Narine. The ball spun in between the big gap between bat and pad, handing Johnson a golden duck.
The match was virtually over as a contest when Narine came out to bat in the 14th over with Knight Riders at 65 for 7. That didn't prevent Johnson from firing a full, fast ball that that took out Narine's offstump. If that wasn't enough, Johnson also screamed in joy as though he had turned the game around, and not just taken a tailender's wicket. Perhaps a reminder to Narine that Johnson too can make batsmen look clueless.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo