The image changer
Northern Knights' debut in the CLT20 had been marred by five drops in six overs. However, they resurrected their image on Sunday, if with a little luck. Asif Raza slogged to deep midwicket and an immense amount of hang-time later it came down on the edge of the boundary where Tim Southee extended his arms into the air-space beyond the advertising skirting and caught the ball. Realising the momentum was tipping him over, Southee tossed the ball to Daryl Mitchell who had been tracking it from deep square leg to complete a spectacular relay catch. The third umpire was called in, as is routine for such catches, and spent several minutes deciding if Southee had trod on the rope, and it seemed that he had, but CK Nandan thought otherwise.
As with most incredulous passages in cricket, a bad ball kicks us off. Kane Williamson lined up a short delivery and smeared it to midwicket, believing he had found the gap. He hadn't, but this was to be that T20 moment where everyone's disciplines go by the wayside. The catch was spilled by Nasir Jamshed and as he scrambled after the rebound, that too popped out and smacked his face. Meanwhile, Daniel Harris had wandered down to the middle of the pitch and was watching the spectacle unfold, without realising there was a very real chance of him being run out. Finally instinct kicked in and he was saved by a late throw. Finally 4.5 was recorded as a dot ball.
The change in fortune
Umar Akmal had strode in last night and took charge of a chase that was meandering. Today, though, he began with a fluffed stumping chance, his back-handed flick could not reach the stumps to dismiss Williamson in the second over, made amends by getting under a skier to dismiss the same batsman, went back in the red when he missed a catch and a run-out off the same ball in the 17th over and his day got worse when Trent Boult delivered a cracking inswinger to rattle his stumps for 1 to leave Lions at 17 for 4.
The nervous bowler
Batsmen have learned far too many innovations that bowlers, in this case, Asif Raza misinterpreted a pull out as a sign of aggression in the opening over. Anton Devcich had been distracted by movement near the sightscreen and darted away, albeit rather late. Raza thought the batsman was making room and followed him. Devcich, who might well have been switching off, suddenly reacted with a deft dab. Both players looked towards the umpire for an explanation and it came in the form of a dead-ball sign.
The 'running the second one hard'
Turning ones into twos is usually a clich but Daniel Flynn gave it a literal meaning in the 15th over. His efforts to smite a full toss through the leg side only went as far as midwicket. A tight single was taken and in the process Flynn had traveled several yards past the crease at the non-strikers' end. BJ Watling had seen there was no one backing up and dragged Flynn along for a second. Despite the extra ground to cover, a perfect dive from the Knights captain got him to safety.
The 'after you'
Knights were certainly in death-overs mode. However, the memo had not been sent to deep midwicket and long-on. Scott Styris belted the third ball he faced into the gap at cow corner, but it was made so as both fielders stood rooted to their ground, as if waiting for the other one to take care of it. Eventually both of them rushed after the ball and by that time Styris had stolen three and Hafeez, the captain, was giving the errant fielders a long, withering glare.