PBKS vs CSK Emotional Rollercoaster: Hot heads, calm minds and everything in between at the game
Livingstone’s hips don’t lie
From the 14-15h over on, Kings XI Punjab might well have thought about retiring out Bhanuka Rajapaksa. He had done his job and was only delaying the entry of Liam Livingstone. As it turned out after he hit a six in the 13.3, Rajapaksha only faced 7 balls, dealing in singles, over the next four overs before he sacrificed his wicket, going for a slog. Enter Livingstone, the modern-day Nathan Astle with his array of shots, going boom boom in a 7-ball 19 cameo. He is one of the clean hitters, who likes to go in the arc between long-off to long-on. Early on his career, by his own admission, he would obsess over the hitting style of Jos Buttler but realised that Buttler was gifted with a wonderfully malleable wrists that powered his shots, and instead strived to be his original self. “I had got too whippy with my wrists”). He started to work on having a strong base in his stance (“I used to lose quite bit of power with too wide a base”), move his back hip – which he reckons is his key – and smash through the line. He makes sure he doesn’t have too long a front stride which renders the use of his hips a touch ineffective. “At point of contact, I make sure I whip my hips through which is where all my power comes from ,” he once told Sky Sports. He whipped his hips to lift Punjab over a par score.
– Sriram Veera
Rishi Dhawan the blacksmith
Rishi Dhawan did an Indian version of scooter’s helmet when he came on to bowl. That glass-panelled mask that blacksmiths wear while soldering iron and those who drive scootys. It’s to protect himself from fierce straight hits by the batsmen. Five years back in 2017, in a T20 game in Hamilton, Otago’s Warren Barnes is said to have become the first bowler to wear a protective visor. It was a mix between baseball visor and a track cyclist’s helmet, that he had himself designed with the help of his coach. Barnes felt he needed the protection as he tended to drop his head on the release of the ball and lost sight for that fraction of a second when a missile might well be launched by the batsman. Dhawan’s gear was less flashy, seemed a more a blacksmith’s version. Not sure if the helmet had any part to play but he also got a wicket of Shivam Dube, who was caught on the crease, inside edging an attempted punch on to his stumps. On air, Abhinav Mukund, the former India opener, felt Dube was expecting his nemesis – the short ball – and hence his feet froze.
– Sriram Veera
Unless you are Jonty Rhodes, fielding coaches rarely get the spotlight. But that rule changes if a team drops a series of catches and their fielder on the fence turns twos into fours. After Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mitch Santner failed to hold on to simple catches and a couple of diving efforts went futile, the question that was begged to be asked was: Who is CSK’s fielding coach? He is Rajiv Kumar, a 5000 plus-runs domestic giant who has played for Bihar and Jharkhand. He replaced the reputed Aussie coach Steve Rixon a few years back. Rajiv was Dhoni’s captain at Jharkhand and is a go-to man for any MS update for the media. At the next CSK nets, expect the old friends to organise a draining fielding session for the team.
– Sandeep Dwivedi
Arshdeep sizzles, Dhoni teases but doesn’t pull off a heist
When MS Dhoni walloped a short ball for a six over backward square-leg and calmly allowed the slower short ball to sail over his head and checked if the square-leg umpire would call it a wide, it seemed dark clouds had descended on the Punjab dugout. Anil Kumble’s jaw clenched. Rishi Dhawan was playing his first match of the season and had an unenviable task of bowling the last over. He had the cushion of runs though after Arshdeep Singh had bowled yet another brilliant over in the final overs of an innings. Over the last couple of years, Arshdeep has been one of the best Indian bowlers in terms of the coolness of execution, and he gave away just 8 runs. Now, Dhawan produced his best yorker to keep Dhoni scoreless but served an outside-leg tripe next ball. It was in the slot too but Dhoni was a touch too early with his heave and toe-ended a dolly to deep midwicket where Jonny Bairstow pouched, smiled, and threw the ball in the air. Game over. The difference in the end was perhaps Banuka Rajpaksa’s dismissal in the 18th over of the first innings that allowed Liam Livingstone to produce a fiery cameo to take Punjab to a matchwinning total. – —
Jadeja, captain cool
Ravindra Jadeja didn’t have too much of the captaincy in the early part of the IPL with MS Dhoni being the conductor-in-chief on the field. But one characteristic of the former skipper has rubbed off on the new one – the poker face. CSK were using a tried and tested formula of slowing down the ball on a used pitch at the Wankhede. Spinners Mahesh Teekshana and Mitchell Santner bowled four of the six Powerplay overs and along with medium pacer Mukesh Choudhary had kept things tight. The skipper, a dangerous left-arm spinner who gives no room to batsmen to free their arms, came into the attack in the seventh. He would have had two wickets against his name if not for the butter-fingered fielders. Punjab’s Banuka Rajapaksa decided to take him on but was dropped by Ruturaj Gaikwad in the deep square leg region. In Jadeja’s second over, Santner let the ball spill through his hands for a six at deep midwicket. The beneficiary was Rajapaksa again. If Jadeja was losing his cool he didn’t show it. No expletives, not a hint of frustration on his face. He just looked away and got back to his bowling mark. A captain with a deadpan face has been one of CSK’s success mantras.
– Nihal Koshie
Mayank, the Channel 9 duck emoji
Mayank Agarwal is almost Justin Langer in his responses to his dismissals. Not quite, as Langer would act as if he were robbed even when his stumps would have gone for a walk. But the disappointment and shake of head is pretty similar with Mayank. He has had a lot of head-shakes to do this IPL, repeatedly getting out cheaply and trudging off with one of the more expressive reactions of sadness in modern-day cricket. He would look to the heavens, shut his eyes, shake his head again and again, and like a true masochist, would catch the replay of his dismissal on the big screen and do it all over again. Then one more time in the dressing room after he catches the replay on the television. There is also another small clue that he isn’t batting well. That mad risky suicidal single after tapping to mid-off. He took on Mitch Santner here once, he has even taken on quicker fielders in the past, and in most of those situations he would be well short, and lucky to survive the direct hit. Soon after, comes the bad shot that would take him out. This time it was a pretty short delivery from Maheesh Thikshana and he went too hard with his cut and sent a dolly to point. It trigerred his expressive reaction as he walked back. In some ways, he is like that old Channel Nine duck emoji that would accompany the batsman, shaking and quacking under its breath. Hotstar could well do to create an Mayank emoji or even better, a Gif, for such occasions.
– Sriram Veera