Question: What does it take to get a wicket against Chennai Super Kings? Answer: Concede a boundary off the previous delivery. Kochi Tuskers Kerala succeeded three times today with this 'tactic'. M Vijay had smashed RP Singh to the straight boundary for four. RP Singh fired in a searing yorker next ball from round the wicket that took out Vijay's off stump. Suresh Raina hammered Sreesanth for three consecutive boundaries over long-on before the bowler got him holing out to mid-on off the next delivery. It was the turn of S Badrinath next. After lofting Brad Hodge over the wide long-on boundary, he targeted the same region again, but this time, he found RP Singh in the way.
Two missed stumpings, one dropped catch and six runs off seven deliveries, in your first match as IPL captain. It couldn't have got worse for Parthiv Patel. He first put down Suresh Raina's sharp chance and then failed to collect the ball when Wriddhiman Saha and Michael Hussey were stranded outside their crease in successive overs. It cost his side a total of 65 runs that the trio added after the reprieves, and Parthiv chipped tamely to mid-on on 6 off R Ashwin to end a forgettable outing.
Hodge was on 19 when he tried to swing Raina with the turn over deep midwicket. Vijay got quickly to the ball, and seemed to be in complete control of the catch. But he grabbed at the ball too casually, did not clasp the fingers around it in time and it popped out. Vijay sheepishly looked around to find Hussey glaring in frustration. During the time-out, Steve Rixon, part of the Chennai coaching staff, ran over to Vijay, put an arm on his shoulder and seemed to be telling him to focus. Hodge went on to make an unbeaten half-century.
Hussey had earlier saved two certain boundaries off Brendon McCullum and Hodge, charging across and diving full-length to stop the ball from crossing the rope. The delivery after Vijay's drop, Ravindra Jadeja cut hard off the back foot. Hussey, fielding at point, went low to his left and put in another screaming dive to pounce on the ball. Having proved his point, he got up quickly and fired in the throw to MS Dhoni.
Kapil Dev's catch off Viv Richards in the 1983 World Cup final has become part of folklore. Raina pulled off a similar stunner today. Jadeja tried to flick one over short fine leg, but got it high in the air off the edge and towards deep backward square leg. Before the man at short fine leg could move, Raina went haring after the ball from backward square leg. Keeping his eyes on it all along, he lunged forward and went down tumbling to take a superb low catch.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo