The Kolkata Knight Riders thumped the Delhi Capitals earlier on Saturday to consolidate their fourth spot and establish a four-point lead over the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kings XI Punjab. In the Sunrisers’ previous game against the Rajasthan Royals, the middle order bailed them out after both David Warner and Jonny Bairstow fell cheaply. However, they unravelled spectacularly on Saturday as the Kings XI pulled off an unlikely heist. Here’s how it unfolded
56 for 1
In pursuit of a modest target of 127, the “old-school” Warner turns up and takes on the Kings XI’s gun bowler Mohammed Shami. The Sunrisers’ captain lofts Shami over cover for six, then flat-bats him over his head and pulls him past mid-on for fours. All up, Warner scores 22 runs off 13 balls from Shami. The Sunrisers are 52 for 0 in six overs.
Enter Ravi Bishnoi. Exit Warner. Having reverse-swept a googly for four first ball, Warner aims another reverse-sweep off the second, but Bishnoi finds more turn and bounce. The ball flicks Warner’s glove and Rahul hangs on to a catch. Paul Reiffel, the on-field umpire, though shoots down the appeal, which Rahul reviews successfully to overturn the on-field not-out decision. Warner gone for a rapid 35.
58 for 2
M Ashwin had harried Bairstow with googlies in his first two overs. Ashwin, like fellow legspinner Bishnoi, relishes bowling the googly more than the legbreak. It was the same variation that impressed Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni so much that they shelled out INR 4.5 crore in the 2016 auction to get him on board at the Rising Pune Supergiant.
In the past couple of seasons, Ashwin has got the googly to skid off the pitch. Bairstow is ready for the googly in Ashwin’s third over. He shapes to sweep with the break through square leg. However, Ashwin gets a legbreak to drift into Bairstow and bowls him around his legs.
67 for 3
Manish Pandey is taking his time to settle as the Dubai pitch is slowing down. Abdul Samad is promoted to No.4 to perhaps target the bowlers and shorter boundaries. Or perhaps the Sunrisers just don’t want to risk Vijay Shankar, who had hurt his thumb in the field, in a small chase. Shankar had suffered back spasms earlier in the tournament as well.
Rahul searches for another breakthrough and brings back Shami. The Kings XI’s main bowler will finish his quota by the ninth over. Another batsman may have opted to see Shami off, but Samad is a six-hitter, and that’s why he has been picked ahead of Abhishek Sharma.
Shami pitches it right in the slot, but Samad doesn’t quite get underneath the length and feebly chips it to mid-off, where Chris Jordan pouches the overhead catch. The Kings XI start to believe.
100 for 4
Pandey and Shankar threaten to close out a second successive chase. They work past the early blows by dropping the ball into the gaps. Pandey, in particular, struggles to read Bishnoi’s googly and so once Jordan comes back, he looks to chance his arm. He swishes at a leg-side full-toss and misses.
Jordan then shifts his line outside off, but overpitches it. Pandey, like Samad, doesn’t quite get under it, and chips it in the air. J Suchith, the sub fielder, tears across to his right, and plucks a catch out of thin air in front of the Kings XI dugout.
In the 2017 IPL final, Suchith had ran out Washington Sundar off the last ball as a sub fielder to seal a one-run win for the Mumbai Indians. Pandey’s grab will turn out to be a match-winning fielding effort as well.
Ravi Bishnoi, Chris Jordan and Mohammed Shami – the heart of KXIP’s bowling BCCI
The Sunrisers need 27 off 23 balls.
110 for 5
All of the Sunrisers’ hopes are on Shankar. He had lined up his Tamil Nadu team-mate Ashwin and driven him straight for a brace of fours. Then, there was a languid lofted drive over mid-off for four off Jordan. After that boundary, the Sunrisers need only 20 off 18 balls. At that stage, ESPNcricinfo’s forecaster pegged Kings XI’s chances at a mere 5.47%.
Jason Holder jabs Arshdeep Singh to point and Shankar responds for the single, taking on Nicholas Pooran’s arm. Pooran misses the stumps, but Shankar cops a nasty blow on the grille of his helmet as the ball skids off the turf and bounces extra. After the Sunrisers’ medical staff tend to Shankar, he composes himself and signals that he’s ready to bat on.
Shankar wants to finish back-to-back games for the Sunrisers. He expects a short delivery and ventures leg side, hoping to manipulate the gap between backward point and short third man. Singh keeps it short, but it’s an off-pace cutter that grips and has Shankar edging behind to Rahul.
It comes down to the Sunrisers
needing 17 off 12 balls.
112 for 6
Jordan v Holder. The Kings XI’s seniors Rahul, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, and Pooran are all part of an intense discussion with Jordan. He will be bowling into Big Jase from over the wicket, with the leg-side boundary being the shorter one. Arshdeep will have the cushion of bowling of the last over, with the leg-side boundary being the bigger one.
Jordan brings him with him the reputation of being a bonafide death bowler for England, but he hasn’t quite had his IPL moment. That Super Over against the Mumbai Indians could’ve gone awry for him if not for Mayank Agarwal’s stunning save at the boundary.
Arshdeep Singh celebrates after a key strike BCCI
Agarwal is out injured now, but Jordan has a chance to stamp his authority on the IPL. His first ball is a middle-stump yorker and Holder stabs it down to long-on for one. Priyam Garg squeezes a single off the second to bring Holder back on strike. Jordan’s plan is simple: hide the ball away from Holder’s reach and deny him access to the shorter leg-side fence. Jordan executes his plan and has Holder carving a catch to Mandeep Singh at extra-cover.
Mandeep had lost his father on Friday evening, but here he is stepping up under pressure for the Kings XI.
112 for 7
The Sunrisers need 15 off nine balls. They need more magic from Rashid Khan after he had ripped out Rahul with a perfect wrong’un earlier in the evening. Jordan goes wide of off once again, and Khan only scythes it straight to Pooran at sweeper cover for a golden duck. Double-wicket penultimate over. Four years after having been yanked out of Sky Sports’ panel of IPL analysts as a late replacement for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Jordan has his IPL moment. It’s panic stations for the Sunrisers.
114 for 8
Arshdeep has 13 to defend to pull off a coup. He has only played three first-class and 18 white-ball games for Punjab in domestic cricket. He is up against Sandeep Sharma, his senior state mate, who is Sunrisers’ swing bowler in the IPL. Sunrisers need him to swing with the bat now. Arshdeep, however, digs in an offcutter and has Sharma splicing a pull to midwicket.
114 for 9
Garg has crossed over and the Sunrisers need 13 off four balls. He’s probably wondering how it came down to this? Arshdeep digs in another cutter at off stump and dares Garg to manufacture pace for himself. However, the batsman is cramped for room and only drags it to long-on, where Jordan runs in, dives forward, and snaps up another smart catch.
114 all out
With the game up, Arshdeep gets another cutter to stick in the pitch, drawing a weak push from No.11 Khaleel Ahmed to point. Ahmed simply dawdles for the single and is emphatically beaten by a direct hit from Bishnoi. It raises his coach Anil Kumble off his seat and even has him applauding animatedly.
From having lost games from seemingly winning positions, the Kings XI pulled off a great escape to secure their fourth victory in a row, boosting their playoffs chances. As for the Sunrisers, they’re still not out yet, but how will they recover from such a cataclysmic collapse? (ESPN)
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Imran steals the show!
(This article by The Island’s respected cricket columnist Rohan Wijeyaratne first appeared in these pages 16 years ago; on the 11th of June 2005. As World Cup winning former captain and current Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has just visited the island, we reproduce this article in today’s edition)
In my youth – which is to say, quite a long time ago – I would often go to the YMCA canteen for a snack and a tea after whatever business that brought me to the Fort. Doing the same recently more for old times sake than anything else, I saw a familiar figure ahead of me heading in the same direction. Quickening my step and drawing abreast, I introduced myself to the gentleman concerned. He was none other than my old school English teacher, V. Thanabalasingham.
Not just a teacher, but an Institution
Those of you who may have passed through the portals of Ananda College during the 1960s and the early 70s and no doubt been well rounded in many ways, will admit to a man that when it came to the teaching of English, the name Thanabalasingham held no peer. In his prime, he was not just a brilliant teacher but an Institution. And volumes wouldn’t suffice to do him justice – such was the impact he made on all whom he touched, be it with the brilliance of Thackeray, Dickens, Chaucer or the Direct Method English Course that served as our bread and butter in English education at the time.
Another, from a different mould
Another teacher from an entirely different mould was Upali Ratnayake, now the Executive Director of CIMA. At the time he was introduced to us at the ‘A’ level stage, he appeared to our free spirits a cut above the rest. He acquired this status by doing exactly the opposite of what he was expected to do, which was to teach us English as a preparatory step towards an easier passage through University. Upali Ratnayake actually taught us nothing. Yet we learnt a good deal off him, discussing almost everything other than the subject he was paid for! His most endearing virtue was that he never spoke to us from a great height. And in that process, he taught us one of the most lasting lessons in life.
Several decades later, I nearly fell off my chair to receive a phone call from him inviting me to the BMICH on the 28th of May where Imran Khan and Kumar Sangakkara were due to speak at the CIMA Global Leaders Summit. The topics for discussion were “Passion for Perfection” and “Ordinary people in extraordinary acts.” The topics and the speakers seemed irresistible. And so I went.
What a speech!
I wasn’t disappointed. Neither were hundreds of others present. And predictably, Imran stole the show. Blessed with a presence that would have put any Grecian god to second class status, this tall, elegant and immensely handsome man spoke with such brilliance, clarity and articulation, the end result was as gripping as it was inspiring. In his wake, those who followed appeared cumbersome and dreary, almost like how Kenny Mackay would appear after the brilliance of a vintage Sobers or a Dexter! Kumar Sangakkara having to make do with less time than was his rightful share went largely unheard, tending to speak more to his fellow panelists than his audience. He will learn. As a probable hot contender to the top post after Atapattu, there will be many more occasions where he will be required to speak in public.
“Ambition must be upgraded, never downgraded”
Imran was of the view that all humans were endowed with limitless potential. Their limits if any, were often self imposed. Those who achieved extraordinary heights were those who dared to go beyond their self imposed limits. They thought big, dreamed big and did not allow their limitations to get in the way of achieving their dreams. He drew parallels from his own experiences in cricket, his cancer hospital project and his involvement in national politics to establish the point.
The four secrets
Starting with cricket, and drawing parallels with other legends including Zaheer Abbas, Imran stressed the need for a clear vision, the hunger to succeed, the willingness to sacrifice and self belief as being the four secrets to achieve one’s vision. Self belief was a factor which Abbas, despite all his God given gifts, had in very short supply. Imran, on the other hand, was full of it (sometimes foolishly!), because he never thought he ever could lose a game each time he stepped on to a cricket field. He gave many examples of it, including the victories against the might of the ‘invincible’ West Indians in 1986 against all odds. And that, despite having requested and got, ‘neutral’ umpires in a home series in Pakistan! He just wanted to make sure that when they won, there would be none to say that the umpires had anything to do with it!
Drawing from examples of his own life, Imran said that in all one’s life, one would hear others say why something cannot be done. That if accepted, would be the start of everyone’s downward spiral. Ambition he said, must be upgraded, never downgraded. And the more you pit your mind against the winds that resist you from reaching your ambition, the stronger your mind will become. Therefore, ambition must take precedence over everything. And towards achieving that, one should be willing to sacrifice anything. “Compromise” said Imran “for your vision, but never ever on your vision.” Great words!
Why the 3rd world is the 3rd world!
Relating what made him take to politics, Imran said that the problem with the third world was that the ruling elite would put itself above the law and deprive the ordinary folk of any justice. Hence his political movement was primarily meant to establish the rule of law in his country, where the weak and the strong were equal in the eyes of the law. “No society in the history of mankind has ever progressed without the rule of the law. The reason why the third world remained the third world was because it had very poor rule of the law. The elitist types did whatever they wished and got away with it, while the common man and the small and medium industrialist were all deprived of justice.” None could have spoken a truer word!
The ways of the mafia
Imran went on to say that when fighting for the rule of Law, one would be pitted against entrenched vested interests; the most powerful elite in the country. These were those who could buy justice. In Imran’s case, these were men who were also his good friends. Yet he preferred to take on the mantle of a social pariah instead, preferring to stand steadfast to his vision. The mafia usually reacts in such situations in either of two ways. They would either eliminate you or make you join the system. Just five months after his party was formed, he was offered 30 seats in Parliament out of 270. Imran refused, because he realized he had no chance of winning against entrenched political families that controlled his country. He knew the moment he joined them, he would need to compromise with his vision. So he refused, and got wiped out at the elections.
Refusing the Prime Ministership of Pakistan
When General Musharaff took over with Pakistan’s fourth military dictatorship in its brief history, he made all the right noises such as ridding the country of “sham” democracy and so on. No sooner Musharaff formed his own party, Imran was yet again invited, this time to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. “But when I discovered that joining his coalition meant joining the biggest crooks in the country,” he had no difficulty in refusing. He was chided for his decision by many who argued that he could have joined and then fixed things up. But Imran said the decision was easy to make, as his vision was very clear. And it was one’s vision that decided when to compromise and when not to.
Imran’s vision was an independent and credible judicial system in Pakistan. So he asked himself the question, could General Musharaff afford an independent judiciary? The answer to him was obvious. If such a judicial system prevailed, most of the powerful men in his country would be tried for treason under article six of the country’s constitution. The sentence for treason was death. And he was therefore convinced that neither Musharaff, nor those around him could afford an independent and credible judicial system. And so, with his firm “No” Imran watched his party being destroyed yet again, to one seat, in parliament. This time it was by General Musharaff himself.
(To be continued tomorrow)
Spinners give India early advantage in third Test
Indian spinners shot England out for just 112 inside two sessions with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel sharing the spoils after pacer Ishant Sharma opened the floodgates in his milestone 100th match on the opening day of the day-night third Test in Ahmedabad yesterday.
England were all out for 112 in 48.4 overs in the second session on a spin-friendly Motera pitch with Patel (21.4-6-38-6) grabbing his second five-for in his second Test while Ashwin (16-6-26-3) took three.
Openers Rohit Sharma (5) and Shubman Gill (0 ) negotiated five overs to take India to five for no loss at the dinner break.
Gill, however, survived after TV umpire ruled him not out in the third over after England claimed for a catch.
Ishant, only the second Indian fast bowler after Kapil Dev to play in 100 Tests, fittingly took India’s first wicket in the third over as he dismissed opener Dominic Sibley for nought.
Thereafter, it was all an Ashwin and Patel show as the duo bamboozled the England batsmen to complete the submission, except for the other opener Zak Crawley, who hit an eminently delectable half-century. Six English wickets fell in the second session.
England did not have any substantial partnership with the 47-run stand for the third wicket being the highest. They lost their last seven wickets for just 38 runs.
Crawley’s brilliance was, however, neutralised by the Indian spinners as England were left reeling at 81 for four going into tea after an exciting opening session in the pink ball Test.
Two wickets fell in as many overs after the resumption of the second session, with Ashwin and Patel taking one each, to reduce England to 81 for 6.
Ashwin sent Ollie Pope’s (1) off-stump cart-wheeling with a beauty of a delivery, bowling round the wicket, before Patel trapped Ben Stokes (6) LBW in the next over with a ball that spun in.
Jofra Archer (11) did a tad better as he hit a four in the second ball he faced and another boundary off Ashwin. But, Patel had him soon, cleaning up his off-stump to send England innings into a mess.
England’s rapid slide continued with Jack Leach edging one to the gully where Cheteshwar Pujara took a low catch off Ashwin, though the TV umpire took time to confirm the decision.
Crawley’s effort was the only silver lining for England. Having missed the first two Tests due to a freak wrist injury, the stylish right-hander’s driving was elegance personified as he hit ten boundaries during his 84-ball 53.
Top players secure third round places
SSC Open Ranking Tennis
Thehan Wijemanne, Kavisha Ratnayake, Vibuda Wijebandara, Savith Weerasinghe, Kiran Viravanathan, Archana Lokuge advanced to the men’s singles third round at the SSC Open Ranking tennis tournament on Tuesday.
Some of the leading players fighting to improve on their impressive performances produced at the Tennis Nationals and the Colombo Championships during recent weeks knocked out their opponents easily to secure third round places.