IPL 2021: Ashwin’s last laugh; Rohit nodded carefully; Gaikwad did Dhoni

Think twice before rubbing Ravichandran Ashwin wrong these days, because this is his “last laugh season”. After his ‘Come, Come On’ revenge song to get Ion Morgan in the game fighting hard against KKR, Ashwin became ‘Come On’ again. Krunal Pandya hit six off Ashwin in the final ball of the Mumbai innings and as luck would have it, the two soon faced each other. This is another 20th over, another Krunal vs Ashwin interview. The characters have changed, the bat is now on the field with a man who is never short of words or variations. Delhi need four, but Ashwin needs six to settle the score with Krunal. Left-armor keeps it small, Ashwin kneels, swings the bat and catches the stump microphone raging ‘Come on’ before the ball crosses the fence. There is an extra edge to this duel between the two white-ball fox all-rounders-graceful batting bowlers of Indian cricket. The addition of Ashwin and the exclusion of Krunal from the World T20 are both surprising. A few months ago, Krunal did not want to play in the ICC event, but Ashwin was not sure about his place in the Test playing XI. Sweaty Sharjah evening, let Ashwin speak with his bat and his mouth. Bring the T20 World Cup, come on!

Rohit, smiling carefully

It will always be difficult to maintain a 130-run target in the IPL, and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma may have thought his team was off to a good start when he scored just two runs off five balls. Then Prithvi Shah decided to step a little to his right and hit the Trend Boult‌ for four through an extra cover. Sharma was already irritated on the face before the ball crossed the fielders inside the circle. Promised that the tough day will be much harder.

The situation was further aggravated after Shikhar Dhawan’s powerful in-out haul a few balls later.

Then the two quick wickets ‘turned upside down in anger.’ Dhawan was run out with a direct hit by Kieron Pollard (the long West Indian sipped his drink when the third-umpire declared ‘out’). And then Krunal Pandya Shah invented LBW.

Over the course of three overs, Sharma’s expressions changed very fast. Though the Mumbai Indians finally tasted defeat, Rohit’s turnaround was the opening start for the emotional roller-coaster.

Gaikwad did Dhoni

At 86 after 17 overs, Ruturaj Gaikwad never expected 6 off the 20th last ball to reach the hundred. After hitting a six off the first ball of the 18th over, he starts rehearsing his first IPL century speech. Rookie, standing on the non-striker end, learns an important T20 lesson: Do not imagine a second time how events will unfold in the IPL. Gaikwad did his part to bottle up his emotional upheavals in the 90s. Jadeja hogged the strike. Gaikwad is also the perfect team man, after instructing Jadeja to do a six sword dance. No worries, no sulk, Dhoni is in mode to find the season – the man with the highest confidence in his skills. At 95, he needed a ball to reach the most important milestone in his young career. The big-hearted Jadeja gave him a double-double. Gaikwad lost one and hit the last for six. CSK would do well to retain this guy next season. The original last over six hitter will not last long.

Now it’s no-ball

“No ball,” Shivdube cried as soon as he was approached by a high full-toss from Shardul Thakur. The umpires did not echo the tube call and fortunately the ball landed on the no man land between the bowler and the incoming long-on fielder. In disbelief, the angry Dube gestured to the uninterested square-leg umpire. ‘Nahi Hai’ from MS Dhoni caught by stump mic stopped the matter. The ‘no ball’ in the next over was not controversial as the slow ball that Sam Curran tried slipped from his hand into the night sky. Debutant Kiwi Glenn Phillips, with a wide smile on his face, stumbled towards the square leg behind the ball before Dhoni could collect it.

Conflict course

This IPL is reminiscent of former England bowler John Snow and shoulder barge. This time, it is not clear who was repulsed. Faf du Plessis ran for a quick single to mid off but bowler Mustafizur Rahman stood too far behind the stumps to cover for the throw. It may have been better yet, but Rahman began to pull back a touch, probably in anticipation that the throw might be shot too hard. In the process, however, he was on the way to Du Plessis, realizing that he was rushing into Rahman, but could not stop himself in time. After they fell to the ground in pain, Du Plessis looked at Rehman, ‘What are you doing there, mate?’ Almost immediately, Rahman raised his left hand as an apology. Civilizations were complete, and both reached the ground to resume their endeavor in pain.

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