Oxenford's shield and McCullum's acrobatics
Plays of the Day from the IPL match between Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Rajkot
The protective equipment
No, not the batsman's. Not the wicketkeeper's either. Umpire Bruce Oxenford
was the centre of attention as he strode out to the middle with a shield on his left arm. He had used it in a World T20 warm-up match between Australia and West Indies at Eden Gardens. With Shane Watson, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers on one side, Brendon McCullum
, Dwayne Smith and Suresh Raina on the other, Oxenford probably anticipated his shield was downright essential. It came into the action when Ravindra Jadeja bashed the ball on it a few times to test its strength.
The over of contrasts
's second ball of the 16th over was just outside off. KL Rahul
charged, swished and missed. The next ball was an offcutter on a length. Rahul slogged across the line and got a bottom edge to the wicketkeeper. The ball after that fetched another wild slog, and another big miss. Rahul was now on 26 off 26 and Royal Challengers Bangalore were losing momentum. Kohli walked up for a chat with his junior partner. What followed was two sweetly timed sixes - a pull over deep midwicket and drive over long-off. That opened the floodgates - for Rahul and for Kohli too - as the two batsmen creamed 52 off the next four overs.
The acrobatic save
A lovely Kohli cover drive seemed destined for the boundary, before McCullum intercepted its path at the edge of the boundary. Given his proximity to the advertising skirting, the technique of the diving save was noteworthy. Rather than sliding along the ground, McCullum launched himself head first at the ball and parried it to safety with his hands. Throughout this sequence his feet were were outside the boundary - but in the air. The stop was as pleasing on the eye as it was effective. After letting one go through him for four in the previous over, McCullum might just have felt he had a point to prove.
Daddy goes boom
A wicket is normally followed by a lull in the scoring rate. That was most emphatically not the case when Smith fell to Kane Richardson
in the second ball of the sixth over. The next ball was fired down the leg side for five wides, and infuriated captain Kohli. Then McCullum went on the rampage: a short ball was pulled for a flat six over square leg and another short ball was pulled to deep midwicket for four. Richardson was scrambling for answers now, but a length ball on the pads was not the answer. McCullum caned it over deep square leg. As if to prove he still believed in genteel cricket, the final ball of the over was straight driven for four at which point the camera panned to McCullum's son Riley. The boy was sitting with his mother in the stands and could not stop smiling.