Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings, IPL, Jaipur May 4, 2008

Drastic fantastic

Sohail Tanvir probably hasn't met Gary Gilmour but, like the former Australian fast bowler, he's going to be the proud owner of record figures for quiet some time


That swing you do: Sohail Tanvir's 6 for 14 left a depleted Chennai with nowhere to go (file photo) © AFP
 

Smiling wryly after his depleted Chennai Super Kings were crushed by Sohail Tanvir's record 6 for 14, Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he told his openers, Stephen Fleming and Parthiv Patel, to watch out for the ball that swings in. "Parthiv looked at me and was sort of saying 'yeah, right' and then he was out first ball", Dhoni said.

Six deliveries into Chennai's innings, both Patel and Fleming were back in the pavilion after misreading Sohail's movement. It was a setback from which Chennai never recovered as Rajasthan's bowlers, marshalled expertly by their captain, followed a simple, yet deadly plan: Attack. There's only one way to get wickets - that's by making the batsmen play, and Rajasthan did just that. Not just Tanvir, but almost every bowler attacked the stumps and rarely eased the pressure from that first over.

Tanvir probably hasn't met Gary Gilmour but, like the former Australian fast bowler, he's going to be the proud owner of record figures for quite some time. Gilmour's 6 for 14 in the 1975 World Cup semi-final were the best one-day international figures for a while and Tanvir's identical return will take some serious beating.

His 2 for 30 against Kolkata were a major improvement from his debut game but this was surreal. He pitched the ball up just outside off stump and swung it in exaggeratedly to trap Patel lbw first ball. Fleming fell in the same over, though replays suggested the delivery would have gone over the stumps. There was no questioning the third dismissal, as S Vidyut edged to second slip, and Tanvir returned to polish off the tail with straight, full deliveries.

"Skipper [Shane Warne] said to me, you'll just bowl one over but when I got two he said you can bowl one more," revealed Tanvir afterwards. "He wanted me to bowl three overs at the end but I got three wickets early. I just hit the right areas, there was swing early on, and we got a very good start and carried on."

Warne has been saying that his side gel well and that each player is hungry. That hunger was perhaps most evident today among his bowlers. Shane Watson mixed slow and fast short-pitched deliveries with gentle fuller ones and took out a trigger-happy S Badrinath, who lobbed a pull back. Munaf Patel, who has had his share of accuracy issues, didn't begin too well but he ended with a bang - two wickets in his final over to end with 2 for 16 from four.

And then there was the master himself. Shane Warne v Mahendra Singh Dhoni was tipped as a battle to watch, and, though it wasn't allowed to even take off, it offered a riveting sub-plot to the broader script. Bringing himself on for the eighth over - earlier than he has all tournament - Warne beat Dhoni with a ripping leg break first ball, pitching outside leg stump and fizzing past the bat. Had Mike Gatting been watching the game, suggested Tony Cozier, he'd have turned off the TV set for the memories it would have brought back. Two balls later Warne slipped in another gem, looping and dipping to take the edge and carry to slip. Greater batsmen have fallen to such deliveries, but Warne getting Dhoni broke the back of the Chennai line-up.

Earlier today Ian Chappell hailed Warne as the greatest captain Australia never had. This was but a glimpse into his mind: Warne knew how dangerous Dhoni was and took it upon himself to come on early; he attacked, and won that round.

If they keep this up, Chappell may be right about putting your money on Rajasthan winning the IPL.

Jamie Alter is a staff writer at Cricinfo