Chennai v Punjab, IPL 2010, Chennai March 21, 2010

The Mongoose misses its mark

Plays of the day from the IPL game between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Chennai

Where's your regular bat?

In the absence of regular captain, MS Dhoni, there's no doubt over who the Chennai crowd's favourite player is. They were screaming 'Hayden, Hayden' when he emerged for the pre-match warm-ups. When he walked out to bat, he was greeted with similar chants, mixed with a few cries of 'Mongoose, mongoose'. They didn't have to wait long to see the much-discussed bat; in the second over Hayden signalled for it when he had a free-hit. To the fans' disappointment, he didn't connect with a big swipe. Worse followed in the Super Over, when the Mongoose's larger 'sweet spot' proved of no use, as Hayden was bowled first ball.

The Chennai ripple

Fans at the IPL are generally a boisterous bunch, happy to roar their approval even at a no-particular-reason bugle, and enthusiastic in counting down the end of time-outs. The MC at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, though, had a hard time getting a Mexican wave going. Around the 12th over of the Punjab innings, he implored the spectators in stand D to stand up and wave to no effect. At his repeated cajoling, a few fans desultorily got to their feet, prompting desperate cries of 'Pass it on, pass it on,' from the MC, but the wave was still-born. Halfway through the chase, however, at no one's prompting, a Mexican wave started rolling around the stadium as the home team seemed headed for a straightforward win.

How about that one?

In the ninth over of the chase Ramesh Powar was convinced he had Hayden lbw, though the massive appeal was turned down by the umpire because the ball pitched outside leg. Off the very next delivery, he tricked a charging Hayden by pitching the ball a little shorter, and the ball crashed into off stump. Before launching into his celebrations though, Powar made a tongue-in-cheek appeal to ask the umpire whether that was good enough to be adjudged out.

A botched celebration

While Chennai looked to be coasting towards victory for much of the chase, it started to get a little tense towards the end. Parthiv Patel's square-driven four on the first ball off the 18th over provided some relief for the home team, but he was stumped off Piyush Chawla on the next delivery. Punjab were back in the game, and Chawla got set for his trademark send-off - get down on one knee and scream while forcefully punching the air with a clenched fist. However, as he bent down to start his celebration, his foot slipped and he ended up on his backside.

Multi-skilled players?

Bowlers are becoming increasing adept with their footwork. Over the past month, both Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard ran out Zimbabwean batsmen by kicking the ball onto the stumps with their left foot during their follow-through. While the West Indian allrounders needed angled shots to hit the target, Juan Theron had a far simpler goalmouth tap-in; with three stumps to aim at, his right-footed the ball onto the wicket to send back Suresh Raina.

Second-time lucky

Chennai have been one of the better fielding outfits in the IPL, and apart from Manpreet Gony's drop, Raina's team was sharp in the field again, with the captain showing the way. In the 19th over, Raina just missed a direct hit from cover to run-out Yuvraj Singh but made amends by knocking down the stumps from a similar position in the final over to dismiss Theron for a golden duck.

On the ball

Hayden and Parthiv had played steadily for the first three overs, after which the Australian decided to open up. He launched a Powar delivery towards long-off but didn't hit it as well as he would have liked. The fielder on the boundary, Mohammad Kaif, was so focused on taking the catch that he lost track of where the rope was, and ended up tripping over it and fell over as he back-pedalled. The ball just cleared the boundary.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments