The case of the carefree canine
Who let the dog out?
Five balls into the first over of Rising Pune Supergiants' innings, a dog ran onto the field and seated itself in front of Rishabh Pant. As the fielder tried to shoo it away only to have it roll around on the grass in a playful manner, Deepak Chahar, who was making his IPL debut, broke into laughter in the dugout. More entertainment was in store: Chris Morris got into the act, luring the friendly intruder towards the boundary before the goundstaff interrupted his trick. A chase around the 30-yard circle ensued before Nathan Coulter-Nile attempted to redirect the dog with a towel. Eventually the dog exited, and decided to seat itself in the Daredevils dugout instead.
In a less friendly encounter, Coulter-Nile unleashed a short ball that shot up off the slow surface and beat George Bailey for pace. Bailey got into an awkward position while aiming to pull and top-edged the ball flush onto his helmet grille. The impact was such that the safety strap was detached and the helmet flew behind the stumps, with bits coming off and flying towards square leg. Bailey was shaken up and Coulter-Nile instantly went to check on his countryman. In the end, thankfully, Bailey and Coulter-Nile could laugh it off.
Dravid almost gets a football injury
Delhi Daredevils mentor Rahul Dravid was busy talking up his side's playoff chances in a television interview ahead of the toss. Some of Supergiants' players were warming up with the customary football game nearby. MS Dhoni, who had shown off his football skills behind the stumps by intercepting late cuts from Manan Vohra and Virat Kohli with his right leg last month, was part of the game. He misfired here, though, accidentally kicking the ball towards Dravid, who had to hurriedly half-duck and half-sway out of the way. Of course, Dhoni was quick to apologise.
Irfan Pathan found some swing with the ball but was less effective in the field when he was slow to react at short fine leg, letting one slip through his legs for four when JP Duminy went down low and swept offspinner R Ashwin. Roughly five overs later, Duminy shuffled across the off stump for a scoop against a low full toss from Ashok Dinda, hoping he could beat Irfan again. Instead, Irfan dived forward to pluck a low catch.
The questionable lbw
Legspinner Adam Zampa stumped Sanju Samson with a ripping legbreak in his first over. He proceeded to undo Pant with a googly in his second over. He was third time lucky in his third over, rather literally: Karun Nair was given lbw, a questionable decision from umpire C Shamshuddin. Zampa had pitched a legbreak on off and hit Nair on the back thigh. The ball looked to be missing the off stump but Shamshuddin's finger went up instantly.
Rahane on the prowl
Supergiants' bowlers used the slow Visakhapatnam pitch as an ally to shackle Daredevils. The fielders shackled them further. Rahane set the tone when he threw himself to his left from backward point and stopped Shreyas Iyer's cut with one hand. Bailey patted Rahane on the back while Dhoni applauded warmly. Five overs later, Rahane ran in from the same position and intercepted a bunt from Karun Nair. Having seen the fielder swoop in, Nair retreated. By the time Rahane lobbed the ball onto the stumps with his left hand, Nair was home. The batsman, ultimately, pinched a single off the ricochet. All is not fair in life and cricket.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo