Royal Challengers Bangalore v Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2016, Raipur May 22, 2016

Zaheer's magic ball and Kohli's super sprint

Plays of the day from the match between Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Raipur

Zaheer Khan produced a ripper to dismiss AB de Villiers © BCCI

The super sprint

It looked perfect. Big bat, broad straight face, the sponsor's name catching the floodlights and the ball headed for the sightscreen. Karun Nair had held his pose after lofting legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the sixth over and must have been expecting a boundary. But Raipur is a big ground - it's 78m down the ground - so he was pushed into running. "At worst, I'd have to settle for a two," Karun may have thought.

Virat Kohli saw it all differently. He was on the edge of the 30-yard circle at mid-off and the ball had travelled quite a distance past him when he began running. But he knew the batsman's timing was not good enough. Looking over his left shoulder, and trusting his legs to mark their own course, Kohli drew level with the ball a couple of metres inside the boundary and completed an incredible running catch. The crowd was going gaga over the effort, but the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain told them to shush with a finger on his lips.

The bowler finally benefits

That was Chahal's first strike of the day. One more in the 10th over had him tied with Bhuvneshwar Kumar's tally of 18 for the No. 1 spot in this season's bowling charts. With Delhi Daredevils unable to cope with the bounce in the pitch and the size of the ground, Chahal was given the 17th over to finish his spell. The first ball kicked up on Quinton de Kock and his swat through the covers became a top edge that landed in Chris Jordan's hands at long-off.

However, before the batsman could walk off the field, the umpires wanted to double-check if it had been a legal delivery. Replays seemed to indicate that Chahal's heel, although raised, was not behind the line. The third umpire Virender Sharma took a lot of time to make his call, and that is often a sign of doubt. Sanjay Manjrekar in the commentary box mentioned the benefit of that doubt, in these cases, went to the bowler. And so it did. By the end of the night, Royal Challengers had the top run-getter and the top-wicket taker and two shots at the trophy.

The magic ball

A required rate of 6.95 to the Royal Challengers batting line-up is like playing a game with the difficulty set at its lowest. Take out Chris Gayle early and it becomes moderately more challenging. Daredevils managed that in the second over. Still, they had to take AB de Villiers out to be in with a shout. So Zaheer Khan ran in with a slip in place and a packed off side ring.

Raipur was supposed to be Daredevils' home venue but it had offered very little help to them - the fans were seduced by Kohli and Royal Challengers and the pitch had contributed to their dismal total of 138. But in the third over, Zaheer's back-of-a-length delivery hit the deck and ballooned up at the batsman. De Villiers, who was caught off guard, popped a catch to Jayant Yadav at cover point and fell for 6.

The withdrawn appeal

It isn't often that Amit Mishra goes wicketless in the IPL. He is, after all, the most successful spinner in the tournament's history. And on Sunday, he could have got Shane Watson out twice in two balls. Bowling his third over of the match, he got a googly to rip into the right-hander, who had misread the ball and shaped to cut. The turn was sharp and the ball crashed into Watson's back pad before it made contact with the bat. The impact was low enough and it was certainly in line with the stumps, but Mishra and the wicketkeeper de Kock thought it was bat first and weren't keen with their appeal. Watson bashed the next ball for six, although only after Yadav on the long-on boundary had attempted to catch it but instead parried it over the ropes.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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