Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 25 April 2012 - 01:50pm IST
IPL high five: Week 3
KP’s ton, Gayle vs. Awana, Hussey’s stunner, Dada’s joy, AB’s power
KP’s first T20 ton
Delhi Daredevils v Deccan Chargers – April 19, 2012
Delhi Daredevils would have been reasonably happy after restricting the Deccan Chargers to 157 for eight. With a strong batting line-up featuring Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, Mahela Jayawardene and Ross Taylor, most expected them to overhaul the target comfortably.
But things didn’t quite go according to script. Halfway into the run chase, DD were reduced to 65 for four with the pick of the batting order – except for Pietersen – back in the hutch. With DC one wicket away from taking control of the match, Pietersen stepped up. From 36 off 33 balls, the English batsman exploded to finish with an unbeaten 103 (64 balls) – he’d added 67 off 31 balls – and guided his team to a comfortable five-wicket win.
Seeing off the dangerous Dale Steyn, he got stuck into the other DC bowlers, the spinners in particular. JP Duminy was dispatched for three consecutive sixes, while Amit Mishra conceded 24 runs off ten deliveries.
The next best score in the Delhi Daredevils’ innings was Yogesh Nagar’s 23!
Gayle vs. Awana
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab – April 20, 2012
On the basis of team strength, form and circumstances, RCB and KXIP were a mismatch. One was a heavyweight team with several match-winners in their line-up, while the other had lost their captain to injury and were struggling to find their best combination.
However, KXIP put on a decent show in the first half of the match when their batsmen posted 163 for six – a competitive total on the pitch. Things got better for the hosts when the relatively unknown Parvinder Awana tore into the RCB top order and reduced them to 25 for three. The 25-year-old bowled quick landed the ball in the right areas consistently, got the ball to do a few things off the surface and generated extra bounce too.
Chris Gayle dominated, as usual, unperturbed by all that was happening at the other end. He crawled to 31 off 29 balls before teeing off for his first six of the evening; he got stuck into Piyush Chawla and hit him for a flat straight six, striking ominous form.
Praveen Kumar was hit for a four and a six off consecutive deliveries, while Awana – who’d caused most of the damage earlier – was driven wide of mid off for a boundary, spanked over square leg for a six and slashed away to the point boundary. The Jamaican, who at one point had a strike-rate of 107, finished with 87 off 56 balls (strike rate of 155.35).
Awana had the last laugh when he dismissed Gayle, but the damage had already been done. RCB won the match by five wickets with three balls to spare.
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab – April 20, 2012
When the ball meets the middle of Chris Gayle’s bat, it is generally headed in one direction – over the boundary. The Jamaican had set up the game for his team with a calculated innings of 81. On the brink of victory, Gayle smashed a full delivery from Parvinder Awana through the covers. The ball would have rocketted across the fence but for a glorious bit of fielding by KXIP skipper David Hussey who dived full length to his right and pouched the ball one-handed barely inches from the ground.
The KXIP bowlers had run out of ideas on how to contain the RCB opener, and it needed a special effort to dismiss him. David Hussey came up with just that – perhaps the catch of the tournament.
Dada’s all-round show
Pune Warriors India v Delhi Daredevils – April 21, 2012
After six outings as PWI skipper, Sourav Ganguly was yet to prove that he still had it with the bat.
In the away fixture against the Delhi Daredevils, Ganguly exhibited that wild spark. It took a while for the 39-year-old to find the middle of the bat, but when he did, he ensured he did not throw it all away. He chose to play second fiddle to the explosive Jesse Ryder who was going strong at the other end and accumulated his runs in ones and twos. There were a couple of shots that stood out in the innings – a sweep that was hit so powerfully that Umpire Asad Rauf (stationed at square-leg) was hit on the hand. Next time around, facing Shahbaz Nadeem, Ganguly came down the track and smacked it straight back with immense power – and yet again Umpire Asad Rauf (this time stationed at the bowler’s end), had to duck for cover before coming down in a heap. The ball, for its part, darted away into the boundary hoardings like a missile.
The PWI skipper was dismissed for 41 (35 balls), but he was still not done. Delhi Daredevils were well in control of their run chase after Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen had added 75 runs in seven overs.
It needed an inspirational moment and Ganguly delivered just that. The PWI skipper brought himself on for a bowl – for the first time in the season – and pegged back the off-stump of a well-set Pietersen with his very first delivery. An ecstatic dada then dashed across the turf of the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in celebration in a show of that old familiar passion.
That moment changed the momentum of the game – Pune Warriors India would strangle the Delhi Daredevils and go on to win by 20 runs. Ganguly would go on to pick up another wicket – that of Irfan Pathan – and the Player-of-the-Match award for his all-round performance.
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals – April 23, 2012
After being asked to take first strike, RCB’s plans fell into disarray when opener Chris Gayle reported sick minutes before the start of the innings. The team struggled with the last minute chaos and reshuffle and seemed headed nowhere. Gayle himself couldn’t do much when he walked out to bat at No. 4 – managing only four runs.
AB de Villiers walked out to bat in the twelfth over with the score reading 67 for three. The fourth ball he faced was dispatched over midwicket, the following delivery sailed even further into the stands at midwicket and RCB were up and running.
Closer to the end of the innings, de Villiers hit Kevon Cooper for a flat six over long off and then followed it up with an outrageous shot; he reverse paddled what was an attempted yorker and sent it to the point boundary. Siddharth Trivedi was at the receiving end in the following over; de Villiers muscled one over long on, improvised and sent the ball to the third-man boundary and then followed it up with a pull over the midwicket fence.
RCB, who were once looking to post a total around 150, finished with 189 for three – thanks mainly to de Villiers’ 23-ball 59. That knock would eventually be the difference between the two teams; Royal Challengers Bangalore would win by 46 runs.