IPL 2021: Kane shuns drama as usual; Kohli blames his bat for dismissal

Emotional Rollercoaster: Shubman Gill keeps it cool and breathes life into KKR chase against SRH; RCB make playoffs.

Handshake, then and now

Eoin Morgan was around at the non-strikers’ to see Dinesh Karthik finish it off for KKR who won by 6 wickets. On the other side of his commiserations for losing was Kane Williamson, who would smile his lower-jaw smile politely, shake his head in stoic acceptance and gently ease off proceedings, like his usual nice self. Not that Kane isn’t able to bubble in all the excitement that plays out on the field. His outfield catch running back earlier brought something resembling a shoulder Ketchup Song jig with Jason Roy. But a loss in the low-scoring game on a slow wicket, even as things went into the last over, put him in a familiar downer of a result, as SRH is all but out of contention. Later he would be seen post the game chatting away gleefully with DK and Morgan, doing another animated upper body jive, narrating some source of amusement. The world will stay hung up on that 50 over dramatic final that the national team of England whisked away from NZ. The two captains remain affable totems of normalcy, as if to say, it’s just a game of cricket.

Braced for impact

Clenched jaw, eyes shut, face turned the other way. Devdutt Padikkal was braced for impact. Sunil Gavaskar in commentary was unforgiving – criticising the youngster for not being brave enough to face the ball. But then again, this was a more unconventional delivery from Mohammed Shami. The eighth ball of the RCB innings, Shami’s release and pitch suggested he was going for a bouncer. And the southpaw with the bat read as much and started to duck out of the way. Only, the ball refused to rise. Padikkal, already halfway down, saw the low bounce and tried to get as close to the surface as possible to stay away from the ball’s trajectory but wasn’t sure if he had ducked enough. Perhaps instinctively, he turned the other way, expecting a blow anywhere between his shoulder to the top of his helmet. But the ball had enough juice in it to go over and nestle in KL Rahul’s gloves.

Blame not the bat

The moment after Virat Kohli found his stumps disturbed—the rattle of leather on wood was enough, he didn’t turn back—he glared suspiciously, and fiercely, at his bat (face). So scything a stare that the bat would have crumbled and minced into the sand. As if the willow was the reason he could not launch the ball into Sharjah’s Sunday traffic, which he had already managed once in his rickety knock. Poor bats, it’s often the object of ire, whenever a batter fails to connect or connects feebly, or when he edges the ball. A fall guy, for no fault of its. The Kohli shot itself was a classic instance—a hideous un-Kohli hack on a track that lacked pace. Moreover, the ball had kept a trifle low. He could have blamed himself, or the pitch, or even the chirping keeper. But to blame a chunky piece of wood, their best friend (to some their soul or soulmate), seems an instinct. If only the bat could talk, or at least stare back at their angry handlers. Or if wood could turn into a mirror.

No spike in joy for KL

Punjab Kings’ are clutching at straws in the business end of the tournament and even the television umpire has not helped matters. RCB opener Devdutt Padikkal tried to run down a faster one from spinner Ravinder Bishnoi past point and Punjab Kings used the DRS. Snickometer showed a faint spike as the ball passed the glove but the on-field umpire was told to stick to his decision. Punjab captain KL Rahul, clearly upset, walked up to the umpire and gestured about the spike. But the more he tried to make his point, the more hopeless his pleas were getting. Rahul had a decent game with the bat, till he perished trying to up the pace. Later as his team floundered during the chase he wore a sheepish smile. Being the Orange Cap holder should bring the opener joy, but instead he has been left to stew in the collective batting failure.

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