Ashwin Mankads Buttler
Maybe, it was a case of desperate situations calling for desperate measures. A sublime Jos Buttler was taking the game away from Kings XI Punjab, when Ravi Ashwin resorted to what the purists would call dark arts. Mankading is widely considered to be against the spirit of cricket, notwithstanding its legitimacy as a mode of dismissal. And the Kings XI captain didn’t even warn the Rajasthan Royals opener, who was at the non-striker’s end, batting on 69 off 43 balls.
The IPL 12 had its first moment of controversy. Ashwin was bowling his final over, the 13th during Royals’ chase. Asking-rate hovered around 10 runs per over but the way Buttler had been batting, the victory target of 185 looked achievable. While bowling the fifth ball of his over, Ashwin seemed to have stopped in his action and waited for Buttler to leave his crease. He, then, Mankaded the non-striker and appealed.
Third umpire Bruce Oxenford upheld it and Buttler was furious. He and Ashwin broke into an animated conversation before the former departed. Two years ago, the MCC had brought in a host of changes to the Laws of Cricket. The custodian of the game’s Laws, however, retained Mankading. In fact, a subtle change to the law gave the bowlers the licence to run-out the non-striker up to the instant at which they “would be expected to deliver the ball”.
For Buttler though, getting out in that fashion didn’t serve a novelty. In 2014 at Birmingham, the England ‘keeper-batsman had been Mankaded by Sachithra Senanayake during an ODI against Sri Lanka. The Edgbaston crowd booed the Sri Lankan offie, while then England captain Alastair Cook suggested that a “line had been crossed”. Buttler, however, had put things in perspective.
“It is obviously the batsman’s error,” he had said, adding: “If you walk out of your ground and someone wants to do it, it is in the laws of the game. It is all part of the game.” Going by his own admission, Buttler failed to learn from his mistake. Still, Mankading is a mode of dismissal that would always be frowned upon.
At the end of the match, Ashwin and Buttler had a very perfunctory handshake. “We take this incident sportingly and we move forward,” Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane said, while mentioning that the match referee “would take the call”. Ashwin, on the other hand, said: “No real argument to that. I didn’t even load and he left the crease. It’s always been my take on it, because it’s my half of the crease.”
Royals’ batting disintegrates
When Buttler was dismissed, Royals required 77 runs off 43 balls. Steve Smith came to the crease. On his IPL return, he showed intent, taking a four and a six off Sam Curran. But KL Rahul took a blinder, running in from long-off and diving to his left, to dismiss Smith and two balls later Curran removed Sanju Samson. Ben Stokes and Rahul Tripathi departed inside four deliveries. The Royals’ innings fell apart. From 148/2 after 16.2 overs, they finished at 170/9 after 20, losing by 14 runs.
How a revamped rule armed Ashwin to ‘Mankad’ Buttler without completing his action
Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin Mankaded Jos Buttler during a crucial juncture of Rajasthan Royals’ chase. Buttler ran foul of the revamped Law 41.6 approved by the MCC, which has put the onus on the striker to remain in his crease. Quite often, the bowler is criticised for attempting such a dismissal, but it is the batsman who is attempting to gain a clear advantage. As per the Mankad Law, the message to the non-striker is loud and clear — if you don't want to risk being run out, stay within your crease until the bowler has released the ball. Under the previous rule, bowlers could attempt a run-out only before entering their delivery stride. Now, bowlers at all levels will be able to run out the non-striker up to the instant at which they “would be expected to deliver the ball”. The MCC has changed the wording of the Mankad rule from “bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery” to “Non-striker leaving their ground early” in a bid to put the “onus on the non-striker to remain in their ground”. Regardless of the rule-change, it will remain an unpopular decision, besides being the talking point of this match.
Second wind continues
It looked as if Chris Gayle had taken offence to the jump and the grab. Rahul Tripathi showed the ‘temerity’ to time his jump to perfection and plucked a catch out of thin air. He ‘killed’ the entertainment that had kept even the home fans at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium engrossed. But Gayle was actually livid with himself. He had been targeting the shorter leg side boundary ever since he opened his shoulders after a cautious start. That particular pull shot off a Stokes delivery, however, didn’t get the required distance.
Gayle is having a second wind in the autumn of his career. In the recently concluded home ODI series against England, where he had returned to play for West Indies after a mini international hiatus, he was thunderous – 424 runs in five matches including two centuries and as many half-centuries. But the self-styled ‘Universe Boss’ of the current vintage is putting a price on his wicket as well. This was the reason why Gayle looked upset even though he scored 79 off just 47 deliveries, completing 4,000 IPL runs in the process.
On a two-paced pitch, Gayle played a two-paced innings. The first 27 balls he faced, he scored 29 runs. He exploded thereafter, scoring the next 50 runs in 20 deliveries. Gayle went after Jaydev Unadkat in the 12th over, slapped it to the straight boundary for a four. The Rajasthan Royals seamer bowled wide, and the Kings XI Punjab opener cut it to the square third man fence. Another short ball followed and another four was the result. After a mini conference involving Unadkat, his captain Rahane and Smith, the left-arm seamer attempted a yorker but missed it by a few inches. Gayle stood and thumped it straight over the sight-screen to reach his half-century.