Plays of the day February 27, 2009

Gully cricket, and 'Mills and Broom'


Jesse Ryder did a Sehwag and started off his innings with a six © Getty Images
 

The disappointment
For those who came in early to watch the curtain-raiser Twenty20 game between New Zealand Masters and Australia Masters. Sachin Tendulkar was supposed to play, but had to pull out last minute because the BCCI wouldn't have its players take part in an exhibition match involving ICL players - Hamish Marshall in this case. The New Zealand Cricket Players' Association has said Marshall ceased to be an ICL player last year when his contract expired. But the ICL maintains he is still contracted with the private league.

Dugout
There wasn't one in the first game in Christchurch for they would have had to pull the boundaries further in for that. But it made an appearance here in Wellington where the ground had big boundaries, normal by modern standards.

Gully cricket
Mahendra Singh Dhoni played his first ball towards mid-off and Yuvraj Singh single-mindedly ran for a single. By the time he saw Dhoni send him back, he was halfway down the crease, and gave up on Daniel Vettori's throw. The throw missed the stumps but Yuvraj was so slow getting back in that he invited another attempt from the fielder backing up. And then he rushed out to capitalise on a ricochet off the stumps for a single.

Love is in the air
A placard in the crowd: "Mills and Broom. Swept off her feet." There are caricatures for Kyle Mills and Neil Broom but it isn't clear which of the two will feel flattered.

Their own medicine
In both games, India have gone on the attack from the start and today Jesse Ryder replied in similar fashion. The first ball of the chase went flying over the long-on boundary. India's experiment of opening with Irfan Pathan failed. Irfan will not like New Zealand: he gave away 38 in his three overs in the first match and went for 25 in his first two today before pulling things back later. He will know, when it rains it pours.

Records
With his six-hitting spree today, Yuvraj seemed on the way to breaking Brendon McCullum's record for sixes in Twenty20s. But he fell short while going for what would have been a record-equalling 22nd six. During New Zealand's chase McCullum created some breathing space for himself during New Zealand's successful chase by hitting No. 23. He also got to his fourth half-century to draw level with Matthew Hayden and Gautam Gambhir for most fifties.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo