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Monday, June 2, 2014

Raina floored; freak (no) stumping ... Manish Pandey dazzles...

IPL 7 finished on a high  - two glorious matches for the spectators – some not so unexpected players making it big … very interesting indeed.

First in the qualifier between CSK and Punjab, powered by a brilliant 122 from the willow of the legendary Virender Sehwag, Punjab registered a 24-run victory….. the target was a steep 227 – but that was shaken – as CSK at one point made their 100 in just 6 overs … it was a blinder from Suresh Raina scored a 25-ball 87; but - his unforced dismissal – off a freak run-out in the seventh over – caused CSK to lose the initial momentum and also the match.

At Wankhede, Virender Sehwag and Manan Vohra gave their team a great start.  Chennai’s bowling was listless……. Chasing CSK lost Faf du Plessis (0) in the first over itself, off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson ~ and then strode in Raina at No.3. The southpaw quickly got his eye in and struck a flurry of sixes and fours to neutralise the early loss. Dhoni blamed the seniors for not putting up the required effort !

The finals was a real big match …. Who would have expected Piyush Chawla to heave a big six off Johnson ?  earlier Wriddhiman Saha scored a ton setting up a target of 200.  The chase was really on throughout – wickets fell – but required run rate was always under control.  It was Manish Pandey who stole the show.  Pandey's 94 off 50 balls, an innings fuelled by an urgency that did not abate, pulled off the highest successful chase in any Twenty20 final.   Towards, the end Pandey left and so did Suryakumar Yadav …. 11 off 7 is not all the difficult … but it was Mitchell Johnson firing in Yorkers …….  Off the last delivery, Johnson bounced – Chawla was ready for the challenge – swivelled, connected it too well over deep backward square for a six …   Sunil Narine was striving to get out … Chawla got another chance and finished with a flourish to the boundary.

Earlier, when Punjab were playing, in the 16th over, Narine dropped a skier from Wriddhiman Saha off his own bowling and conceded a single. The next ball,  Uthappa did a smart (!) job – replays clearly showed  that bastman was well out of the creas ~ but was a not out …. Uthappa's gloves had been a fraction in front of the stumps as he collected the ball. A no-ball was called, Vohra was reprieved, and he drilled the next delivery down the ground for four.

In the IPL melee, one can be forgotten, for not following other sports… the 2014 Men's Hockey World Cup, the 13th edition of the Hockey World Cup is onat the Kyocera Stadion in The Hague, Netherlands.  India is closetted with  Australia, England, Belgium, Spain, Malaysia in Pool A while Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Argentina, and South Africa are in the other half.

Today, a late goal gave England a win over India 2-1.  At Rolland garros, defending champion Rafa Nadal dismantled unseeded Serbian Dusan Lajovic 6-1 6-2 6-1 to set up a quarter-final clash with fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in a repeat of last year's final. Eight-times champion and world No.1 Nadal improved his Roland Garros win-loss record to a remarkable 63-1 to advance having not dropped a set in Paris this year.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd June 2014.

Photo credit : BCCI

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