DC vs CSK: Gowtham misses Hetmyer catch; Pant chatter with Axar continues

Emotional Rollercoaster: DC have hearts in their mouths before scoring a three-wicket win over CSK.

Krishnappa Gowtham’s oopsie daisie

CSK’s Krishnappa Gowtham could have probably ended the chase in the 18th over when Shimron Hetmeyer slugged Dwayne Bravo towards him at long-on. Delhi Capitals had needed 22 runs from 15 balls at that stage and everything depended on Hetmeyer. Gowtham took a couple of steps forward and started to bend down his knees as the ball began to dip. He went for the Australian way, cupping his palms out but had to keep going down to cover for the dip. Yes, he could have taken it in the Indian way with palms up but not that Australian way was wrong. Just one of those days, where it didn’t come off. Perhaps the pressure, perhaps it dipped more than he thought and by the time his knees touched the ground, the ball popped out of his palms. So did the game. A few balls later, the broadcasters decided to show the best catches of the tournament. Oh well…

C. Smile b. Roar

Shardul Thakur had just struck Ravi Ashwin’s cup noodle-selling back pad while his flick lagged, before the scramble seam did its thing and struck the off-stump. Hetmeyer would get the flick right next ball, to get off strike and Thakur opted for the shorter delivery to Shikhar Dhawan. The set batter would try putting it away with a pull as the ball whooshed past his bat to the keeper. Dhoni would stir up an appeal with Thakur in unison and the umpire didn’t harbour a doubt. A cheeky smile from Dhoni preceded the Ultraedge being ultra disinterested in jagging the flatline as Dhawan lived to tell a snippet. He was quiet the next two deliveries before Thakur hurried the final ball into the slot and Dhawan wanting to break free, would drive it to Moeen Ali who hopped, pouched the ball and then broke into a surprise smile. Thakur, denied earlier, roared. Dhoni had had the first smile though.

Ruturaj & seasons in the sun

It’s a testament to Ruturaj Gaikwad that the Delhi Capitals exploded in joy and sunk in disappointment within a minute. Anrich Nortje thought he had nailed his man lbw in the first over and fist-pumped and roared. The most expansive celebration came from Shimron Hetmeyer who ran all the way from the boundary to hug the bowler with great joy. Once Gaikwad sent it upstairs and DRS reprieved him, he had a quiet smile with Faf du Plessis. Nortje turned grim and that man Hetmeyer slumped his shoulders and almost sank. It proved an eventful over as 16 runs came, just one edgy four over slips from Gaikwad but there were wides and leg byes that ran to the boundary as Nortje couldn’t quite control his radar. Rishabh Pant put in an acrobatic dive to get across the first slip to gather a wide swinging delivery; else it could well have been 20 runs. That save also showed how far Pant has come on in his wicketkeeping. Previously, his first movement used to be invariably to his left and he would often find himself late to balls on his right but he has corrected it and developed a great deal in the past few months.

Pant’s Patel-rap

Communications-wise, Axar Patel-Rishabh Pant has to be the most exciting bowling-keeping combo. The doggerels from the not-so-distant past are probably still fresh in viewers’ memory, when the left-arm spinner had been teasing England batsmen in home Tests earlier this year and Pant serenading him with: _”Thoda sa aage, Milkha Singh bhaage, pyara Axar jaage”_. Then there was another one: _”Ollie Pope ko Lollipop do, ball ghoomega toh ye jhoomega.”_ Against Chennai Super Kings, Patel was in the middle of an excellent spell and true to T20 cricket’s matter-of-fact nature, Pant’s instructions to his spinner was about not letting the pressure slip. After Moeen Ali got out to Patel, Ambati Rayudu played a firm push to the bowler’s left. Readily, Pant’s sharp-shooting came from behind the stumps: “Oye Patel, ruk, ruk, ruk…” Patel acted on his captain’s command and ran around to get a hand to ball. But there was enough time for Rayudu to rotate the strike, much to Pant’s expressive chagrin.

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