The fielding in the IPL has been a mishmash of the terrific and the amateurish. The game between Chennai and Delhi at the MA Chidambaram was no different. Here are some of the fielding highs and lows.
Players have often complained that it's hard to hear calls over the crowd's cacophony, leading to two fielders going for the same catch, such as M Vijay and Thilan Thushara during the match against Mumbai Indians in Chennai. Today it was Gautam Gambhir and Amit Mishra who both wanted to latch onto a miscue from Matthew Hayden in the first over. Gambhir moved to his left from mid off while Mishra ran across from mid on. Mishra bailed out of the attempt at the last moment, but a distracted Gambhir couldn't hang on to what was a simple chance, which would have given Hayden his second consecutive duck.
The bumbling outfielder
Michael Hussey was gifted a boundary in the eighth over when Mishra casually attempted to pick up the ball with one hand at deep midwicket. He botched what was a regulation stop, but slowed the ball down a bit and made a desperate dash to pull it back but it dribbled over the rope. There was another blunder from him off the penultimate delivery of the innings: he made good ground to nicely position himself under the ball at deep square leg, but managed to spill it and give four runs to S Badrinath.
Though he was ordinary in the outfield, Mishra was tigerish when it came to fielding off his own bowling. In the 13th over, he flung himself to the left to block a drive from R Ashwin, and raced to wide mid-on two deliveries later to keep the batsmen to a single. There was more: in his next over, Mishra again sprinted to wide mid-on and sent in a slide-rule throw that ran out R Ashwin, who perhaps not expecting a direct hit wasn't in top gear.
There was some sharp catching from Delhi as well. Paul Collingwood grabbed a nick from Albie Morkel at first slip which needed the third umpire to verify that it was held cleanly. Umesh Yadav didn't do much with the ball, but plucked another low chance at sweeper cover to dismiss the dangerous Suresh Raina in the ninth over.
Bailey bails out Jakati
George Bailey looked out of his depth when he got his chance with the bat in this tournament, but he has been Chennai's regular substitute fielder whenever a foreign player goes off the field. He showed why coach Stephen Fleming sends him on in the eighth over: Shadab Jakati moved from third man towards deep backward point to stop a Gambhir cut shot but could only fumble a few yards from the rope. Bailey who had run to his right from deep point was alert, though, and put in a dive behind Jakati to prevent a boundary and save his team two runs.