With R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja both regular fixtures in the Chennai Super Kings outfit, the specialist overseas spinner Samuel Badree was not going to get too many chances. His main contribution till this game was dropping Glenn Maxwell in Chennai Super Kings' opening game. After his new-ball spell today, he hadn't made a compelling case for continued inclusion in the team, and his chances dipped further when he put down an overhead chance at third man in the sixth over. Ambati Rayudu, struggling for form, top edged towards Badree, who had to leap to get his hands on the ball, but he couldn't grab on, instead popping it over the rope.
Towards the end of the Mumbai Indians innings, Corey Anderson slugged a waist-high full toss towards deep midwicket. Unlike Badree, Ravindra Jadeja hung on to the catch, after making plenty of ground. He knew he was going to go over the rope though, and he swung his arm trying to make sure the ball stayed in play. However, the ball seemed stuck in his palm and remained in his hand as he crossed the boundary. Only on the second attempt to get rid of the ball did it fly out of his hand, by when it was too late.
Both Badree and Jadeja were given a masterclass in boundary fielding by Faf du Plessis. In the 17th over, Rohit Sharma clubbed the ball to the left of long-off. It flew flat and fast towards the rope, but it wasn't fast enough to beat du Plessis. It was a split-second that combined incredible athleticism and presence of mind as du Plessis darted across, dived to pluck the ball mid-air and then dropped it inside the rope even as he was going across it. Rohit had been expected that to go for six, and was ambling in the middle. Du Plessis changed what seemed like a sure six, into a sprint for two.
Praveen Kumar's strength has always been his ability to move the new ball both ways. He spent nearly a year away from the spotlight, and on his return, he had lost none of that skill. The ball was curving around, leaving Dwayne Smith guessing. A couple went away, the third jagged in a long way, and the fourth came in as well. Smith didn't get bat on any of them as he kept swiping away. He did connect on the fifth, but only after he shelved the big slog and played a controlled clip to square leg. Praveen might have gained a few pounds in his time on the sidelines, but he remains a new-ball operator to be feared.
There were a slew of perplexing decisions during the chase. Brendon McCullum was adjudged lbw though the ball was sliding well down, Suresh Raina was given out stumped though replays suggested he had grounded his bat in time, and Jadeja was reprieved though he was hit by a full, slower Lasith Malinga delivery in line with the stumps. On a day when umpire Sanjay Hazare was stood down from the IPL for "many reasons", his colleagues only added to debate around umpiring in the IPL.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo