Clumsiness galore, and Chennai's adopted Australian
Plays of the day from the IPL fixture between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals at the MA Chidambaram Stadium
There were bloopers on the field from Matthew Hayden, S Badrinath and S Anirudha and one off the field. Hayden jogged across at cover point to intercept a cut by Naman Ojha but failed to read the spin and let it sail through his legs. Sometime later, he got in perfect position to catch a skier off the same batsman but fluffed it. Thankfully for him, the match was already in the bag.
Ojha had led a charmed life through his unbeaten 94. Even before the Hayden misfield, a slog-sweep found Badrinath at deep midwicket, only for the fielder to spill the catch on the dive. The other beneficiary of the night was Shane Watson, who skied one to midwicket and was let off on 31 by Anirudha, who never really got under it. All mishaps were witnessed and pilloried by thousands, but only a fraction of those witnessed one klutzy moment in the stands.
The refurbished stands on the eastern end give the ground a sophisticated look. The scaffolding is very similar to that of the stands at Lord's and the Adelaide Oval. Another new addition to these stands is the bucket seats, which aren't common in many Indian grounds. When standing up to applaud Hayden passing 1000 IPL runs, this writer forgot that the seat folds when unoccupied. Next thing he knew, he was on the floor looking up at bemused onlookers. This was one standing ovation which turned into a stumbling side-show.
It was Doug Bollinger's postcard moment. On an evening when everything he touched seemed to turn to gold, he pulled off a stunner at the deep midwicket boundary to become the favourite of the Chennai crowd. Yusuf Pathan skied one to wide long-on, and Bollinger cupped it just inches from the rope. With the momentum threatening to take him over the rope, he threw the ball up, stepped behind the rope, got back into the field of play and took the catch. David Hussey pulled off a similar beauty in Delhi a few games back. What is it with Australians and boundary catches, you have to ask - Hussey, Phillip Hughes, Adam Voges and now Bollinger. Later, when Bollinger returned for a new spell, the wickets-starved crowd welcomed him as their new son with chants which grew louder with every dot ball.
Hang on, he's not ready
This was a field adjustment which missed everybody's attention. When Shaun Tait ran in to bowl the third ball of the 15th over, he and the umpires failed to notice that the fielder hadn't yet taken position at square third man. The fielder rushed to his position as fast as he could but Tait had delivered the ball. The fielder must have had his heart in his mouth when M Vijay upper cut the ball in his direction, but it sailed over the boundary. It would have been another story if Vijay didn't get as much elevation.
Wagh's IPL initiation
Shrikanth Wagh's IPL debut was a rollercoaster of a ride which lasted just six balls. The left-arm seamer from Maharashtra faced a stern examination against Matthew Hayden, who seemed determined to knock him out of the attack. The second, third and fourth balls were whacked to the on side for fours, but Wagh had the last laugh in the fifth. A half volley was slammed down extra cover's throat and Wagh had dismissed his tormentor. Alas, he never bowled again.
It was a day of contrasting fortunes for two Muralis - Vijay and Muttiah Muralitharan. The offspinner fell prey to his attackers from Rajasthan Royals, who showed scant respect for the record-holder in Tests. More so Shane Watson, who clubbed him for three sixes and a four over the on side, all in one over. His round-the-wicket line was getting predictable and Watson chose to play with the spin. He leaked 23 off that over, and 52 off his four overs for a wicket. The search party was on for Bollinger after that mauling.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo