Matches (13)
IPL (2)
SA v SL [W] (1)
ACC Premier Cup (6)
Women's QUAD (4)

Talking points: What was Amit Mishra's secret for success?

Why Lalit Yadav batted ahead of Rishabh Pant, and why was there no soft signal used tonight

Alagappan Muthu
Alagappan Muthu
What was the secret to Mishra's success?
It's natural to assume a spinner would do well on a dry pitch. But he still has to use his skill. Especially when he comes on with the opposition flying. Mumbai Indians were 45 for 1 in five overs when Amit Mishra came on.
He was struck for three fours in his first eight balls. Two of them were the result of hm bowling way down leg, and then short and wide as well. So now he's under pressure too, along with his team.
Delhi Capitals brought Mishra on to be their trump card. Prior to this match, he had dismissed Rohit Sharma six times in the IPL. He made it seven when he lobbed the legbreak a little wider, which made the batter lose his shape as he tried to hit out, resulting in a simple catch to long-on.
Another piece of good cricket led to Kieron Pollard's wicket. You see, he likes to play back to spin. And Mishra spotted it immediately. He knew a well-pitched googly would turn Pollard's own gameplan against him and trap him lbw. And that's exactly what happened.
Both those incidents are examples of how Mishra keeps a cool head even when he's under attack.
Let's talk about the ball change
Mumbai's stand-in captain Kieron Pollard went up to umpire Chris Gaffaney at the start of the 13th over to complain about the ball. Since no one bothered to check it was out of shape, and simply kept trying to grip it in various ways, the issue was obviously that it had gotten too wet.
KL Rahul, the Punjab Kings captain, had tried the same against the Capitals but with no success and he lost the game. Here, Pollard's insistence worked and six balls after he made his impassioned plea, he got his men a new dry white cherry to work with.
Now there is merit in this decision. Why should only one team suffer the complications caused by dew in a cricket match? Officials willing to even the playing field like this can even help in reducing the toss advantage. But it needs to be applied uniformly. And as Rahul might tell you, that has not been the case so far.
Life after the soft signal
We don't have the soft signal for low catches in the IPL. The decision was taken after the Indian captain came out against it during the recent series against England and so far it appears to be a good move.
It leaves the third umpire free to make up his own mind. He doesn't have to be bound by a judgment call made by his on-field colleague who is often too far away from the action and gets only one look at it. Worse, there are times when officials are simply swayed by the celebrations involved. Yell loudly, soft signal is out. Look unsure, it is not out.
Here, in the first over of the chase, Hardik Pandya dived forward to manufacture a catch that didn't look possible in an effort to dismiss Shikhar Dhawan.
It was too close to call and would've been a perfect candidate for the soft signal. Except it isn't in use. So the third umpire, who has the benefit of replays and slow-motion cameras, was immediately brought in to adjudicate. This looks a better system.
Why did Lalit Yadav bat ahead of Rishabh Pant?
The Capitals were going quite well in a tough chase with Steven Smith and Shikhar Dhawan treating it like the middle-overs of an ODI, calmly and calculatedly accumulating their runs.
Then Mumbai broke through and at 64 for 2 with more than half the innings still left, an IPL rookie was thrown into the mix.
Now logic suggests the best batters should face the most deliveries so that they can shape a T20. But here, Capitals reasoned that the cost of losing Rishabh Pant cheaply would be too great. So they sent someone else - someone they didn't mind losing - to drag the chase deeper and enable their finishers - Shimron Hetmyer had been brought into the XI for this game and Marcus Stoinis was also around - to play uncomplicated cricket.
None of those players had to re-build an innings. They just had to go out there and score the runs, quickly, which is their forte.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo