Updated: October 12, 2021 1:12:31 pm
Shakib’s tough easy four
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al-Hasan, a street-smart batsman, provided KKR with the one release shot to ease the pressure in a tense chase. Mohammed Siraj had pierced out the game-changer Sunil Narine and Dinesh Kartik in a space of three balls and though the equation was a run a ball, scoring runs on the slow wicket was tricky. Virat Kohli reposed faith in medium pacer Dan Christian who came up with a slow ball. Shakib may have been expecting it as he moved across off stump and helped the ball over the fielder inside the circle. Shakib had no pace to work with and there was danger of it popping up for an easy catch if he mistimed it. But on seeing the ball reach the boundary, he turned around to face captain Eoin Morgan and shrugged his shoulders. Easy-peasy skipper is what he seemed to be saying with a smile.
Far afield in England, a certain Asif Iqbal was basking in pride, as Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders turned up in Sharjah for the IPL Eliminator. It’s been four decades since Sharjah became a cricket venue and the former Pakistan captain, with a strong Hyderabad (India) connection, played a massive part in bringing the game to the desert. “When people still call me one of the chief architects of cricket in Sharjah, I feel proud. We started from scratch and now it has become the go-to venue for the IPL also apart from a World Cup, just around the corner,” Iqbal says, speaking to The Indian Express. His emotions at moment are recollected in the cold and damp of London, where IPL is popular among cricket fans. “I enjoyed the last night’s game. Today’s match also, I am looking forward to top entertainment.” As nostalgia kicks in, Iqbal spares a thought for those who, along with him, dared to dream. “Some of them are still alive, some of them are no more. Together we made it happen and the happiness lingers.”
Bharat faces turners, turning tides
How things change overnight. There he was soaking up all the adulation after the last match heroics that included a last-ball six. But today Srikar Bharat couldn’t do much, struggling for a 16-ball 9 knock. The pressure was also on him due to the tactical decision RCB took in some respects. Virat Kohli went for the singles to give the strike to Bharat against the mystery spinners Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine. And against Shakib Al Hasan too. Barring one dot ball in this phase after power play when the spinners twirled, Kohli took single of every ball he faced. But Bharat couldn’t connect with his attempted aggressive hits. He was nearly stumped once, and kept mistiming Chakravarthy and co. He couldn’t reach the pitch of the balls – the spinners were brilliant with their lengths, and he couldn’t find any timing. The shots kept getting more desperate but nothing clicked and the misery ended when he holed up to long-off. His innings sucked up all the momentum built during the powerplay.
Sharma on a slow-turning rotisserie
It was the slowest decision by the on-field umpire Virender Sharma and the quickest reversal by the third umpire Anil Chaudhary. Shahbaz Ahmed had gone for a reverse sweep off Varun Chakravarthy and it hit the edge and deviated the width of two stumps almost to hit his pad. Chakravarthy appealed. And appealed. Shahbaz ran and reached the other end when Virender decided to wilt and put his finger up. The other batsman Glenn Maxwell was shocked and said “it hit bat!’. Third umpire had one look and decided ‘clearly off the bat’, and said he didn’t need any more replays or hawk-eye etc. And that was that.
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