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KFC Cup at the IPL

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

April 19, 2008

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Kumar Sangakkara has helped Muttaih Muralitharan take many a wicket but he was Murali's victim this time round © AFP
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Greg meets his wards
Just over a year ago Greg Chappell was coaching the Indian side, discussing team strategies with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. Here he was present at the toss, chatting with the duo about the game on hand. It was also fitting that he was on air when Suresh Raina, someone he rated highly, played some audacious strokes.

KFC Cup at the IPL
It was an Aussie battle at Mohali as Punjab's Brett Lee and James Hopes bowled at Chennai's Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey. The batsmen prevailed in this contest and it was particularly interesting to see Hayden taking on his Queensland team-mate Hopes at every given opportunity. Western Australia's Hussey, though, had the last laugh: smacking a 50-ball hundred and proving to be the difference between the two sides. His brother David, who went for a higher price, achieved about one-tenth that in the Bangalore match.

Bowled ... no celebrations
It's rare when the sound of ball hitting timber is met with a muted reaction. But Lee could only heave a sigh of relief as he crashed through Hayden's defences in what was a free-hit. Hayden got back to taking guard and Lee quickly turned around and made his way back to the mark.

Preity on her toes
Shah Rukh Khan danced his way through the opening match yesterday and it was the turn of another Bollywood star, Preity Zinta, today. She was animated through the game and was seen texting a message on her mobile phone during the tense final stages. She was on her feet after one of Yuvraj's sixes and even urged the crowd to pump up the volume.

Murali wins the Lankan battle
He had joked before the game that he would love to get Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene off the first ball they face. Muttiah Muralitharan didn't manage that but turned in a fine performance, one that included undoing Sangakkara at a vital moment. He lured him down the ground and saw him hole one straight down the throat of long-on.

Dhoni backs the unknowns
Continuing with his practice of thrusting responsibility on the unheralded players, Dhoni urged Manpreet Gony, P Amarnath and Joginder Sharma to shoulder most of the bowling burden. Gony, in just his first Twenty20 match, revelled under the pressure and Amarnath picked up the big wicket of James Hopes just when the match appeared to be slipping away. Any guesses on who bowled the final over? The same Joginder, whose last Twenty20 match saw him clinch a World Cup for India.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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