Chris Gayle sometimes stonewalls at the start of a T20 innings, but having missed Royal Challengers' first four games due to injury, the urge to get on with it was too strong. Against the offspin of Glenn Maxwell, Gayle's IPL 2014 campaign got off to a shaky start. The first ball was edged wide of slip and the third chipped over point, both for unconvincing boundaries. He was lucky to survive a strong lbw shout off the fourth, while attempting to sweep. All doubts about Gayle's rustiness were put to rest, though, when he charged down the track and launched the last two deliveries over long-off and long-on, both flying off the sweet spot. The over cost 20, but the Gayle fireworks came to abrupt end in the following over.
Catches on the boundary require the fielder to not only keep his eyes on the ball but also be aware of where his feet are. Mitchell Starc perfected both at fine leg. Wriddhiman Saha played a pick-up shot towards Starc, who had several yards to cover to his left. He caught the ball and the momentum could easily have forced him over the boundary but he managed to stay on the fringes. Starc went onto take another exceptional catch running forward, but his first catch boosted Royal Challengers' sagging spirits.
If you can't get bat on ball, then use your head. That's what Virender Sehwag did, literally. A Varun Aaron bouncer was aimed straight at his head but as he ducked he allowed the ball to deflect off the back of the helmet and clear the wicketkeeper. Sehwag chuckled after the ball raced to the third-man boundary and his reaction suggested the deflection was not entirely accidental.
Sandeep Sharma saved himself and his team-mates from a Gayle onslaught when he hit the stumps with his first ball to the batsman. He was rather fortunate, however, to get rid of Virat Kohli in the same over. Sandeep's sharp inswing took the ball towards leg stump as Kohli looked to flick, but when the ball struck the pad, the bowler appealed. Billy Bowden was convinced that was hitting the stumps though replays indicated it was missing leg comfortably. Kohli was mortified at the decision and it took a while for him to comprehend the situation and walk back.
The missed run-out
Royal Challengers hadn't scored a boundary off the bat for close to seven overs and a chance to break the drought came via a free-hit in the final over. Ashok Dinda swung at a short ball from Mitchell Johnson but could only bottom-edge it to the wicketkeeper. Varun Aaron set off from the other end but Dinda wasn't interested, forcing Aaron to scamper back. Johnson collected the wicketkeeper's throw and tried to back-flick the ball onto the stumps. He ended up lobbing it several feet over the stumps and allowed Aaron an escape.