Maharoof's woes and the lord of the fans
Plays of the Day from the IPL game between Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians
The sight of Sanath Jayasuriya, well past the age of 40, and Sachin Tendulkar, nearly 37, scampering two threes in the first over of the game was something else. On both occasions it was Tendulkar, with the gusto of a twenty-something, loudly urging his partner on for the third run, each time turning around before Jayasuriya. No country for old men? Yeah right.
In the same over, after giving chase to a well-placed clip from Tendulkar through midwicket, a 28-year-old Gautam Gambhir pulled up with a sore hamstring. He had to leave the field before the start of the second over, while the two old men continued stealing ones and twos from under the fielders' noses.
Lord of the fans
Gambhir pointed out how crucial the home fans would be for his team tonight, even going as far as to say they would be the 12th man, but the crowd's reaction to each run Tendulkar gathered made it sound more like Dadar than Delhi. When Tendulkar clipped three runs, collecting the ball from outside off and working those wrists, the fans showed their appreciation. When he walked down the track and put Farveez Maharoof away for four, they went wild. And when Tendulkar steered a lovely four, opening his hands and placing it past the infield, well that was just what you'd expect from fans of this man. Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, had spoken before the first season of how he had envisioned city-based loyalties. That's not going to happen anywhere in India when Tendulkar is batting.
Yogesh Nagar, the substitute fielder for Gambhir, pulled off the catch of the tournament while fielding at mid-off. Jayasuriya drove Maharoof on the rise and it appeared destined for the boundary, but Nagar stuck his right hand, while airborne and leaping backwards, and pulled off a ripper. Nagar was in the thick of action later, running in and taking a neat low catch to cut off Tendulkar for a splendid 32-ball 63.
Maharoof suffers again
Maharoof was lucky to get the wicket of Jayasuriya, and his habit of leaking runs continued. He entered this game as Delhi's most expensive bowler in the tournament and his troubles preceded him. His first over saw Tendulkar and Jayasuriya pick up a boundary each. His second over began with Tendulkar collecting two fours, and Jayasuriya's exit had no bearing on him either, as he hit the next two balls as if he was facing a spinner, using his feet and wrists and displaying impeccable placement. Maharoof came on to bowl his third over, the tenth of the innings, and promptly sprayed the ball down the leg side for five wides, bringing up the fastest 100 of the IPL. For good measure, Tendulkar finished off by taking him for another four that gave him figures o 3-0-40-1. Maharoof's bemused expression, drooping shoulders and lethargic walk back to his fielding position said exactly what state of mind he was in.
Carry on Tiwary
Saurabh Tiwary has not been able to match the achievements of some of his fellow 2008 Under-19 World Cup-winning team-mates, namely Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey and Ravindra Jadeja, but in two IPL matches this season he's been blazing like wildfire. Tiwary hails from the same state as MS Dhoni, Jharkhand, keeps wicket, and once admitted that Dhoni was his batting hero. This evening, as he did against Rajasthan Royals, Tiwary played some shots straight out of the Dhoni manual. The long, dyed, straightened hair might be so 2007, a la Dhoni, but the shots that flowed from Tiwary's bat were very much in keeping with the current format.
Kieron Pollard, the most expensive buy in this year's IPL auction, barely had enough time to get over his jetlag - he and Dwayne Bravo arrived in Delhi late last night - before he was out in the middle needing to really swing his bat in the last two overs of Mumbai's innings. If he was a bit groggy, the second ball he faced sure as hell woke him up. It slipped out of Dirk Nannes' hand and ended up a nasty beamer that very narrowly missed knocking off Pollard's head. Such was the gravity of that illegal delivery that Virender Sehwag, fielding at square leg, gasped and cupped his mouth with his hands. Pollard's reply? Biff the next ball down the ground, where Mishra spilled a tough chance.
Sweet, but far too short Tillakaratne Dilshan had faced three deliveries in IPL 2010 and was out twice without scoring a run. Hardly a fluent start to the season, but when he came out to open in place of an injured Gambhir, Dilshan realized it was time to flex his muscles. Seeing a length ball first up, he smashed Zaheer Khan over mid-off for four. More frenetic hitting followed as Dilshan slashed and inside-edged four before steering a boundary behind point. Seventeen runs in 11 balls was exciting stuff, but unfortunately it was too exciting to last long, because he swiped at the next ball and was bowled.
Playing for keeps
It was called a wide, but little did that matter. Harbhajan Singh's delivery spun down the leg side, Dinesh Karthik fell over trying to play it, and before you could say Jack Robinson, the wicketkeeper Aditya Tare broke the sticks with an excellent reactionary flick. It was brilliant work down the leg side. Tare's reaction to the dismissal was equally mind-blowing because he charged toward the bowler, laughing and leaping like he'd just hit the winning penalty kick in a World Cup final.
Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo