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Friday, April 12, 2019

that final over ~ Jadeja falling, Dhoni walking in and Santner hitting

Another thriller ~ last ball finish – an unlikely or rather unexpected one as it came from bespectacled spinner  Mitchell Santner – another match that made you lose sleep ! – all ingredients of IPL.

Rajasthan Royals were off to a hot start – 3 overs – 35 runs – but were contained by the Spinners – and then   Super Kings got off to a miserable early reply. Shane Watson bowled four balls into the chase with a beautiful delivery from Dhawal Kulkarni that held its line. Suresh Raina had to run as Faf was already running – chinna thala watched Jofra Archer field at fineleg, not expecting a throw to be sent to the non-striker's end ball hitting stumps  with Raina a foot short to make it 5 for 2 in the second. Faf du Plessis picked out one of the two boundary riders in the Powerplay at deep midwicket to gift Jaydev Unadkat a wicket in the fourth. Stokes pulled off spectacular  catch of the tournament at backward point, flying to his left to knife Kedar Jadhav's attempted cut off Archer to make it 24 for 4 with one ball to go in the Powerplay.  .. .. yet CSK won !!

You see so many WI performing well in IPL – Aljarri Joseph, DJ Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Naraine .. .. Russel .. .. there are the likes of Hetmeyer too but why still WI is not clicking .. .. lot happening outside the ground  Dave Cameron's controversial reign as the CWI president coming to an end last month, Ricky Skerritt, a former West Indies team manager, beat Cameron by an 8-4 margin in the board elections. Cameron had several fallouts with senior West Indies players, especially Darren Sammy who led them to two World T20 titles.  West Indies head coach Richard Pybus has been replaced months after he was appointed, as one of several reforms announced today by new Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt. The entire selection panel has also been replaced, with Robert Haynes replacing Courtney Browne as interim head of selectors. Floyd Reifer has been confirmed as interim head coach, a role he previously filled on West Indies’ tour to Bangladesh last year. Richard 'Ricky' Skerritt is a politician affiliated to the St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party

In that thriller, as Alzarri Joseph and Rahul Chahar completed the second run to clinch a thrilling last-ball win against Kings XI Punjab, the Mumbai Indians players ran out on the field in two batches: one sprinted down the stairs from the dressing room and the other erupted in the dugout. Kieron Pollard, who turned the tables on Kings XI, was in neither of them. Pollard was still padded up and under his helmet after his stunning 83 off 31 balls, studded with ten sixes, and was next to the dugout just beyond the boundary. Once Joseph hit the winning runs, Pollard jumped with joy, then gradually walked out on the field, took his helmet off, stood in the middle and pointed his thumbs towards his name at the back of his jersey. He was expressionless, but reminded the crowd who he was and what he could do. Pollard had unleashed an astonishing assault en route to his highest IPL score when things were looking down for Mumbai. Not just for the win and his clean hitting, Pollard would always cherish this match because it was his first IPL outing as captain.

Kieron Pollard last played an ODI in October 2016 but may still have hopes of making it to the West Indies World Cup squad because of a new set-up running Cricket West Indies (CWI). After smashing his highest IPL score - 83 off 31 balls - to help Mumbai Indians edge Kings XI Punjab in a last-ball finish in Mumbai on Wednesday night, Pollard was asked if he thought he would be picked in the World Cup squad that will be announced later this month, and he indirectly said anything could be possible.

Yesterday at Jaipur, Dhoni fought off getting hit in the helmet by Archer in the 17th to eventually bring up his 50 off 39 balls with a two behind point off Archer in the 19th over, after which he started sucking wind heavily.  He required some treatment probably for cramps and was struggling.   Another two required an extended break with the physio coming on field while Dhoni caught his breath. A four flicked off his pads to end the 19th brought the equation down to 18 off the final frame to set up the thrilling finish.
Nothing would portray that drams of the last over.  Score card would read Chennai Super Kings 155 for 6 (Dhoni 58, Rayudu 57, Stokes 2-39) beat Rajasthan Royals 151 for 7 (Stokes 28, Buttler 23, Jadeja 2-20) by four wickets

Off the last 18 required Ben Stokes was the bowler.  The first ball was unimaginable – Jadeja heaved, was seen falling ugly flat, the bowler too upon completing the delivery stride was on the ground, but the ball was soaring straight to the screen for a 6 ! ; 2nd was a no ball, ran one, free hit and Dhoni had a brace.  Off the 3rd, Dhoni was bowled to a beautiful Yorker.   MS Dhoni b Stokes 58 (76m 43b 2x4 3x6) SR: 134.88.  Santner in. 8 needed off 3. 19.4 Stokes to Santner, 2 runs, another no-ball for height this time, slower ball goes wrong, ends up above waist height and Santner is able to shovel-flick it away. .. .. No ball given but reversed by the leg Umpire – Dhoni is furious.   5th another 2 – one gets a feeling that Santner should not be on strike – last ball a wide – Stokes has to bowl that again – Ben bowls full and outside – Santner a mighty heave hits a straight six .. everyone is elated and one could hear shouts in the mid of night as the clock strikes 12.00

That last over was possibly the most action-packed in IPL history. It began with Jadeja falling over while hitting a six  - had a no-ball call reversed and the unprecedented sight of Dhoni marching on to the field – and the last ball six by Santner.   

What is still hotly debated is Captain Cool losing it momentarily and walking on to the field   to remonstrate with the umpires over that contentious no-ball call.   Stokes bowled a full toss. Umpire Ulhas Gandhe signaled a no-ball for height, only for his square-leg colleague Bruce Oxenford to overrule him. That led to heated arguments in the middle, with batsmen Ravindra Jadeja and Santner getting involved. Dhoni also marched onto the field and got involved in an animated discussion with the umpires. The delivery stood as a legal one,  MS Dhoni has been docked 50 per cent of his match fees for a Code of Conduct breach. Dhoni admitted to the Level 2 offence under Article 2.20 of the IPL's Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction.

All happening in IPL ~ my Q is what would be the state of mind of players when the team for WC is picked in Apr 15, 2019

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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