Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 11 April 2012 - 05:30pm IST
IPL high five: Week 1
From impressive debuts to last-ball heroics, Week 1 had it all
Levi's IPL debut
Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings – April 4, 2012
Mumbai Indians' latest signing Richard Levi had only recently bulldozed his way into the record books by scoring the fastest hundred in Twenty20 Internationals. So when the South African took the field for IPL 2012, expectations were sky high.
There was pressure from other quarters too. It was the opening match of the competition, his team were up against defending champions Chennai Super Kings and he was opening the batting alongside Sachin Tendulkar. The 24-year-old held his own admirably, scoring valuable runs without too much of a fuss.
After four dot balls and a single in the opening over, Levi opened up when he crashed Doug Bolligner for two boundaries. That was only the start; by the time he was finished, he had scored 50 runs from 35 balls. He got to his half-century in style too – by hitting Dwayne Bravo for a six over long on. Levi had arrived in style!
Morkel’s early strikes
Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders – April 5, 2012
Kolkata Knight Riders were rightly considered one of the strongest teams in IPL 2012 in the lead up to the tournament. After all, their batting line-up boasted the likes of Brendon McCullum, Jacques Kallis, Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan.
Morne Morkel paid no heed to the reputation of SRK’s leading men. The South African paceman demolished KKR’s top-order with two spectacular deliveries. In his very first over, Morkel delivered two perfect yorkers – from about seven-feet high – to which Kallis and Tiwary had no answers. Pitched right at the base of the wicket, he sent the stumps cartwheeling in two perfect cricketing moments.
But he was not done yet; in his second spell, he picked up the wicket of Gambhir leaving KKR licking their wounds, bowled out of the contest.
Rahane's graceful 98
Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab – April 6, 2012
Twenty20 cricket is all about going hard at the ball and playing all the shots in the book. Ajinkya Rahane's knock against Kings XI Punjab proved that theory incorrect. The 23-year-old top-order batsman played the technically perfect innings – almost straight out of the MCC coaching manual – until he was dismissed attempting to go over the top. There was no slogging, no heaves across the line; yet the runs kept coming.
The majority of his 98 runs came through drives down the ground, most of them through pure timing. A knock to make the purists happy.
Jadeja's all-round show
Chennai Super Kings v Deccan Chargers – April 7, 2012
The cricketing world’s curiosity was roused when Chennai Super Kings and Deccan Chargers were locked in a fierce bid for the Saurashtra all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja at the IPL Player Auction 2012. The USD 2 million limit was reached and CSK finally won the all-rounder’s services by means of the silent tie-breaker.
Given the kind of money splurged on him, Jadeja, or ‘Jaddu’, as the tattoo on his arm proclaims, paid his generous franchise back in the best way possible. Jadeja single-handedly won the away fixture against the Deccan Chargers, first blazing his way to a 29-ball 48 and then running through the DC line-up with five wickets. That performance – which made him the first player in IPL history to score more than 40 runs and take five wickets in the same match – has raised the bar for all all-rounders in the competition.
Rohit's match-winning 73*
Deccan Chargers v Mumbai Indians – April 9, 2012
At the halfway stage in their match against Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians were reasonably happy to have restricted their opponents to 138 for nine. However, with a fired-up Dale Steyn charging in, their job was only half done and it needed someone to play a disciplined knock to see them home.
Rohit Sharma produced just that kind of performance. After 17 overs, the 24-year-old had scored 44 off 40 balls with his team needing 37 from three overs. That's when Sharma cut loose; he hit Amit Mishra for two sixes in an over and then took matters in his own hands in the final over, of which 18 runs were needed.
When the equation read 11 from three balls, Sharma heaved across the line to get a bottom-edge that sent the ball sailing over the point boundary. A couple of runs off the following delivery meant Sharma needed to get three off the last ball. And he got them in style, dispatching a low full toss from Daniel Christian into the stands at long on. A classic tale of IPL heroics.