Gambhir has Dhoni surrounded, again
The unlikely slog
Ajinkya Rahane is among the most classical of batsmen, relying on brain over brawn. Each of this six fifties this season were built on balance, placement and timing. On Saturday night against Kolkata Knight Riders, Rahane opted to test his muscle, after quietly playing out five balls for two runs. He lost his shape, looking to slog a back-of-a-length ball from Andre Russell, and only managed an inside edge that floored his off and middle stumps.
The nick that wasn't
Usman Khawaja had reprieves on 8, 9 and 22 on his IPL debut against Delhi Daredevils on May 5. He failed to cash in and was stumped off Amit Mishra for 30. Khawaja had a lifeline against Knight Riders as well. Morne Morkel banged in a short ball outside off and induced a lazy dab from the Australia opener. There was a noise as the ball passed the bat, and the bowler and wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa went up in unison. Umpire Bruce Oxenford, though, shot down the appeal. Replays and Ultra Edge later indicated a thin nick. Six balls later, Khawaja holed out to deep square leg for 21 off 17 balls. Another start squandered.
Captain under siege, part II
When MS Dhoni walked out to bat against Knight Riders last month, Gautam Gambhir put his helmet on and swooped into silly point to greet the Rising Pune Supergiants captain. Gambhir brought in a slip and a short leg as well.
In the reverse fixture, Dhoni arrived with his team at 74 for 4. Gambhir took his position at silly point again, besides adding two slips and a short leg. Knight Riders coach Jacques Kallis who was doing an interview by the sidelines at the time said that it was a plan to knock Dhoni over early and apply more pressure on Supergiants. The plan nearly worked as Dhoni feebly prodded at a loopy Piyush Chawla ball that drifted in first up, resulting in an inside edge that nearly kissed the leg stump via a deflection off the front pad.
The crazy mix-up
Sunil Narine, who returned to the Knight Riders XI after missing the team's last two games because of a finger injury, pushed one away from Dhoni with extra bounce. Dhoni reached out, stabbed to Chawla at backward point, and set off. Irfan Pathan responded to Dhoni, took a couple of steps forward, but suddenly stopped. By then, Dhoni was more than halfway down the pitch. Moreover, he was left jumping and yelling at Irfan's indecision. The allrounder, who was promoted to No. 5, eventually sacrificed his wicket as Chawla fired a flat throw to Uthappa at the striker's end. He made his way back for 7 off 8, without daring to look at his seething captain.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo