Plays of the day April 23, 2008

Chennai cheers for Gilli and Hussey

Cricinfo staff


Loud cheers for Michael Hussey in Chennai, but who is this new Gilli? © Getty Images
 

Gilli, but not Adam: As you walk down from the Madras Cricket Club gate to the media entrance, there are dozens of posters on lamp posts and walls. All of them feature a young man in various smiling poses. This is Vijay, matinee idol for a new Tamil generation. His biggest hit was called Gilli and we're reliably informed that it has nothing to do with the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman of all time.

Welcome to Chennai, Mr Cricket: After that breathtaking 50-ball century in Mohali, this was Michael Hussey's first home game and the roars and chants of his name as he walked out to bat were similar to those that will greet Lionel Messi later tonight when he steps onto the Nou Camp turf. The silence when he inside-edged one from Dhawal Kulkarni was all-pervasive and it suggested that IPL fans are quickly becoming one-eyed, like every good home crowd should be. The sole exception was when Sachin Tendulkar was spotted on TV, talking to the commentators. God, after all, transcends parochial boundaries.

Friendly fire: Dwayne Bravo over-pitched and Matthew Hayden teed off so quickly that Suresh Raina had to fall to the ground like someone pole-axed by Joe Frazier. After that, ducking a bouncer should be child's play.

Queen for the Super Kings: For most of the evening, the sound system belted out popular Tamil tunes, but after the 16th over of the innings, it was Queen's We Will Rock You that had them stomping their feet in the stands. The way Hayden and Mahendra Singh Dhoni finished the innings off, it was an appropriate tune as well.

Going going, Gony: If the Mumbai Indians were going to score 209, it really needed Sanath Jayasuriya to play a blinder. But after carving Jacob Oram for four boundaries, he was too late on a pull against Manpreet Gony. The displaced Punjabi is built like Brian McMillan and bowls at lively pace. That crucial wicket was part of a fine spell where he conceded only 18 runs and did a McGrath by bowling a maiden.

A soapy hat-trick for Murali: Coming on to bowl the 11th over, Chennai's adopted son - his wife is from here - started with three shocking wides down the leg side. If you ever needed proof of how badly dew can affect a bowler, this was it - Mr. Accuracy himself looking like he was trying to grip a wet bar of soap.

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