Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Twenty20 games are known for hyper energy in the field, which can sometimes prove counter-productive. Ask KL Rahul and Karn Sharma. In the third over of the Chennai Super Kings innings, Brendon McCullum called Dwayne Smith for a leg-bye when the ball had hardly rolled off the pitch. While McCullum was in at the striker's end comfortably, Smith was struggling to make it to the non-striker's. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the bowler, went for a direct hit, and both mid-on and mid-off converged to be at the stumps. Eventually they both collided and ended up on the floor, with the ball down at the long-on boundary for four overthrows.
Of the side, that is. In the first over of the match, Smith looked to work Bhuvneshwar into the leg side, got a leading edge, and took four runs for it. If you hadn't seen that one frame of the edge, you would have thought this was a classical cover drive, all along the ground, hurtling across the surface, bang into the gap between cover and cover point.
The break-through man
It is possible Ravi Bopara got selected in the XI ahead of Eoin Morgan because of his bowling. With Ishant Sharma going through a near meltdown with four no-balls in his three overs for 46 runs, Bopara was called upon for more overs than he would have expected. Must be something about his bowling that nearly three wickets fell off his short-of-a-length balls. Two of them, though, were run-outs - Smith and Suresh Raina - and the third never really happened despite two opportunities. First Kane Williamson dropped McCullum at deep cover in Bopara's third over, and then Bopara failed to run McCullum out in his fourth.
When MS Dhoni came out to bat in the 14th over, McCullum had already reached 80. He not only looked set for a hundred, a second IPL 150 couldn't be ruled out. Dhoni, though, took almost all the strike in the partnership that followed. He took singles off the last balls of the 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th overs, and Dhoni's 53 off 29 balls later, McCullum was still on 89 with only four balls to go in the innings. Out came Ravindra Jadeja, dug out a yorker, and nearly didn't run. McCullum, though, willed him through, and even though Jadeja was run out, McCullum had three balls to bring up a hundred. He ramped Trent Boult for six first, then reverse-pulled a slower bouncer after having shaped up for another ramp, and dug out the final ball for a single that brought up the hundred. Dwayne Bravo was not alert enough, though, and was nearly run out.
Mohit Sharma is known for his back-of-the-hand slower-ball legcutter. Batsmen look out for it. Not least of them Shikhar Dhawan, who would have faced him everyday in the nets during the World Cup in Australia. Here, with Dhawan looking good at 26 off 17, watching the ball closely, it was a bit surprising that he fell to a Mohit slower ball. Replays showed this was not the usual back-of-the-hand variety, but the front-of-the-hand offcutter. To get an opponent familiar to his tricks, Mohit had pulled something special out of the hat.