The boundary blinder - I
Reflex catches at the boundary's edge have become common these days in Twenty20 cricket. Corey Anderson made his effort look ridiculously simple and did not show the slightest hint of panic when he got rid of Lendl Simmons. The dangerous Simmons was looking to slog Ish Sodhi over long-on but did not quite have enough to clear Anderson. Anderson back pedaled as he took the catch but was well aware of the boundary rope a few inches behind him. He tossed the ball up with his left hand, stepped outside the boundary and calmly hopped back inside the boundary and took the catch on the second attempt at the edge of the rope. His reaction suggested that he had taken a sitter.
The boundary blinder - II
Anderson's catch was indeed made to look like a sitter, by Trent Boult. Kieron Pollard made the world gasp with wonder with a blinder in the IPL that would rank as one of the finest fielding efforts seen in a cricket field. Ironically, a few months later, he got a taste of his own medicine. He pulled Anderson to deep midwicket where Boult quickly pedaled backwards. Boult plucked the ball with his left hand and the momentum was dragging him quickly towards the rope. He had the presence of mind to throw the ball up in the air before he went outside the boundary. He quickly gathered himself, turned around, raced back inside the boundary, dived and plucked the catch again on the second attempt. For Pollard, what goes around comes around.
The friendly warning
The Mankading controversy in England involving the Sri Lanka spinner Sachithra Senanayake and Jos Buttler generated heated debate over the issue of sportsmanship in the modern game. On this occasion, as Samuel Badree ran in to bowl to Kane Williamson, the non-striker Ross Taylor was ambling out of his crease, backing up too far. Badree stopped on his tracks and it was only when the umpire called dead ball when Taylor realised what was happening. There was no stern warning from Badree. Just a big smile, letting Taylor know that he was being watched.
The bowling change
West Indies have found it hard to look past Kane Williamson in the Tests, particularly in the third game when his unbeaten 161 set up New Zealand's series win. Pollard wasn't part of the Tests but it took just two balls in his spell for him to get rid of their biggest nemesis. Pollard has been effective with his slower balls in T20s, delivered from an awkward height. The offcutter came back in sharply, much to Williamson's surprise, clipped the pad and deflected to the stumps. The batsman stood hunched at the crease, as if he did not pick the ball. Pollard set off on his celebratory run, with his index finger pressed on his lips. Though Williamson was not running away with the game, his wicket meant a lot to West Indies.