Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

Pain for Tiwary, gain for Mumbai Indians; Shikhar leaves superstition behind

Emotional Rollercoaster: Mumbai Indians win by 6 wickets against catch-spilling Punjab Kings; Knightriders edge out Capitals by 3 wickets

Mumbai Indians beat Punjab Kings by 6 wickets while KKR defeat DC by 3 wickets

The Gri-mace Man

Back in the day, being the tallest and heaviest on the junior circuit, Saurabh Tiwary was known as Bhim in the dressing room. Size wasn’t the only inspiration for the nickname, Bhim’s valour in epic battles was also a factor. It was his unbeaten game-changing knock in the under-19 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand that took India in the final, which they went on to win. Those were the days of Dhoni Mania, and Tiwary, the Jamshedpur born big-hitting batsman with straight hair, had no option. He had to be the Next Dhoni. But even Dhoni lookalike toughie Bhims are vulnerable. So when bowler Arshdeep Singh’s throw, intended for the stump, hits Tiwary’s box, the batsman falls like a log. It’s a situation that triggers sympathy and smiles. Even Tiwary seemed amused while he winced in pain. After a long medical break, Bhim got up to hit the next ball for a four. His 45 from 37 balls showed that once in a while Bhim does a Dhoni.

I’m not superstitious

Even if he was uncomfortable within, Shikhar Dhawan carried a stoic approach to the crease. Cricketers can be naturally superstitious people, luck playing a big factor in the game being their reason. Dhawan’s superstition is to play second fiddle and allow his opening partner to take first strike. He considers this his lucky charm like Mohinder Amarnath and Steve Waugh’s red handkerchiefs, Lasith Malinga’s ball kiss or Anil Kumble inevitably handing over his cap and sweater to Sachin Tendulkar before coming on to bowl. Against Kolkata Knight Riders, however, Dhawan had to eschew his preference and take first strike. His regular opening partner at Delhi Capitals, Prithvi Shaw, was out injured and Steve Smith was put in a makeshift role. Not that the change did any harm to Dhawan. On his way to a 20-ball 24, he reclaimed the Orange Cap from Sanju Samson, getting an LBW reprieve on umpire’s call on 22 even.

Chaku, don’t be cheeky

“Don’t be over-smart and pompous!” was DK’s advise to Varun Chakravarthy.
Dinesh Karthik wasn’t too chuffed after Varun Chakravarthy slipped in a full toss, perhaps attempting to experiment with something. Karthik piped up, “your job is 4 overs 10 runs or 12 runs (Naalu-Pathu, Naalu-panirntu daan un velai!”) He then added an interesting remark, “Overaaa thenavathu venaam!” Thenavathu literally means pompous or oversmart; in this context it perhaps means don’t be too cheeky and casual. Chakravarthy had a sheepish smile as he turned back to bowl.
Just before that ball, Karthik had given detailed guidelines on how to bowl to Rishabh Pant. “Maathi adika Maathaan, normal aa podu” (He won’t switch hit, you can bowl normally). And then came that full toss. A single that took Pant off strike. Not sure what Varun was trying but Karthik interpreted it as being a touch too casual perhaps.

The agape Saffers

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Because it was two South Africans with jaws wide agape, you could believe it was the usual ‘cricketing souls leaving the body’ at the latest catastrophe that strikes players from that part of the world. Except, it was only a pair of shocked jaws from both. Ravi Bishnoi’s last delivery was full and outside off and saw Quinton de Kock open his mouth for a gasp-ful of air before lofting it on a nice pivot. Aiden Markram in the outfield saw the skier dipping down to his right faster that he liked, and dived desperately for what would’ve been a sensational catch. Instead it was a dreadfully unlucky drop as Markram scampered a good distance for the ball to graze his outstretched fingers and plop out, tumbling away to a four. All through this slowly playing out punishment Markram had his heart in his open mouth. They say it’s a quick burst of extra oxygen to help deal with startling events, but Markram’s visage opened like a crab-cracker chasing the slippery catch. Meanwhile the bowler, the unfortunate Bishnoi who snares batters with his crab-limbed run-up, and has been taking catches with an un-creased unfazed face, stayed assiduously zip-lipped, not betraying his disappointment at the dropped catch.

First published on: 29-09-2021 at 00:17 IST
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