Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2014, Ranchi May 13, 2014

Du Plessis' lucky escape

Plays of the day from the match between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in Ranchi

The confused non-shot
Steven Smith had just hit Mohit Sharma for four with a safe, authoritative shot - a punch over cover after coming down the track. Next ball, he tried to be cute, and shaped for the scoop over fine leg even before Mohit Sharma released the ball. Seeing this, the bowler fired it straight and full instead of sending down his stock slower ball. Smith tried to adjust, and tried to play what can approximately be described as a ramp shot from knee-height, and came nowhere near connecting. The ball instead crashed into leg stump.

The sticky bails
Kevon Cooper was making his first appearance of the season for Rajasthan Royals, and he almost struck with his first ball. Faf du Plessis defended a length ball from him, and the ball bounced down on the pitch and rolled back under his bat. It rolled all the way back to the base of the stumps, and Cooper began celebrating, before he realised the bails had not come off. Super Kings had just lost Suresh Raina in the previous over. Losing du Plessis at that point would have left them at a tricky 48 for 3, chasing 149.

Royals tear up the template
In their last match, the Royals pulled off the perfect chase, staying ahead of the corresponding Royal Challengers Bangalore score at the end of every over. Their opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair had laid the base for them with a half-century stand. Royals, who are known for their unpredictable tactical decisions, promptly sent in an entirely different combination in this game.

You could argue it worked, looking at the 60 runs Ankit Sharma and Shane Watson added, but you could also argue it moved Rahane and Nair out of their comfort zones. Between them, batting at Nos. 3 and 4, they scored 12 off 18.

Ditto Super Kings
One can never quite predict Royals' selections or their batting order. With the Super Kings on the other hand, it's a surprise if they deviate from a largely set formula. It was a surprise, therefore, to see them leave out Mithun Manhas and hand an IPL debut to the Tamil Nadu allrounder Vijay Shankar.

It was even more surprising to see him take the ball in the 10th over of Royals' innings. Super Kings had only taken one wicket before that, but they had kept things reasonably quiet. Now, an honest, up-and-down medium-pacer - who, from today's admittedly scanty evidence, does not seem to possess the cunning changes of pace of, say, Rajat Bhatia - was up against Shane Watson, who relishes that sort of bowling. Watson, predictably, teed off. He started the over batting on 24 off 24 and ended it on 42 off 28. Shankar getting a bowl also meant Ishwar Pandey ended up bowling just three overs, even though he only conceded 18 runs.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo