The Indian Premier League (IPL) has never been short on controversies over the years and the 2019 edition is proving to be no different with Jos Buttler’s dismissal to a ‘Mankad’ run-out by Ravi Ashwin dominating airwaves.
The incident occurred during Rajasthan Royals‘ first home clash against Kings XI Punjab at Jaipur with Buttler’s controversial dismissal triggering a dramatic late collapse from the hosts in their chase of 185.
The episode had massively divided opinions across the cricketing world and while he still believes that the ‘wrong’ decision was made at the time, Buttler has since made his peace with the dismissal.
“If you look at the footage, probably the wrong decision was made because at the time he was expected to release the ball I was in my crease,” the Englishman told ESPNcricinfo in an interview.
“At the time I was really disappointed with it. I didn’t like the style of it. I just thought it was a bad precedent at the start of the tournament. For the tournament itself. It was a really disappointing way to start the tournament.
“So, I didn’t like what happened and I didn’t agree with it, but what can you do? After a day or so I was pretty relaxed about it and I’ll make sure it never happens again. It won’t happen again.”
Much of the debate around the Mankading law has centred on the bowlers’ ‘expected time’ of delivery and Buttler has questioned the ambiguity with the wording of the law.
“Of course a Mankading has to be in the Laws of the game because a batsman can’t just run halfway down the pitch trying to get a headstart,” the Rajasthan Royals batsman said.
“But I do think, the way the law is written, there is a bit of a grey area in that saying ‘when a bowler is expected to release the ball’. That is a bit of a wishy-washy statement.”
It was the Hardik Pandya show at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday as Mumbai Indians ended Chennai Super Kings‘ perfect start to the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, beating the holders by 37 runs.
CSK won the toss and chose to bowl, a decision that appeared to be the right one as the hosts struggled early in their innings with the ball swinging around.
Openers Rohit Sharma (13) and Quinton de Kock (4) fell cheaply, as did Yuvraj Singh (4) but a 62-run stand between Suryakumar Yadav (59 off 43) and Krunal Pandya (42 off 32) steadied the ship.
However, the turning point was when their partnership ended, bringing Hardik and Kieron Pollard to the crease. The duo put up a quick-fire 45 as Chennai conceded 51 runs in the final three overs. Pandya went after the bowling and raced to 25 off eight deliveries with Dwayne Bravo, whose final over went for 29, severely punished.
The Indian all-rounder then starred with the ball as well after some fine work from Jason Behrendorff and Lasith Malinga to take out CSK’s top order. Kedar Jadhav battled on with a defiant innings of 58 from 54 deliveries but that was about the extent of Chennai’s resistance as Pandya picked up 3-20, including the prized wicket of MS Dhoni, from his four overs to help Mumbai over the line.
ROHIT ADDS TO INDIA’S CONCERNS
This was another disappointing display at the crease from the Mumbai skipper and is genuine cause for concern. Remove Rohit Sharma from the equation and the batting order lacks star quality. Even though he’s managed knocks of 46 and 32 in his previous two outings, he’s hardly looked assured in the middle.
After four innings, Sharma boasts an average of 26.75 and a strike rate of 130.48. On the surface, that isn’t exactly alarming but the numbers are deceiving. He’s consistently looked streaky at the start of his innings and his dismissal on Wednesday, prodding uncertainly at Ravindra Jadeja’s delivery spinning away from off stump, did not inspire confidence. His form coupled with that of Virat Kohli’s doesn’t bode well at all for India.
The two stars of their batting line-up have a combined average and strike rate of 23 and 114.9 in this IPL season. The campaign is still young but concerns are growing ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
With his fine knock of 31 from 19 deliveries against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday, Hardik Pandya showed us a glimpse of what he’s capable of and he drove home his point with a stunning cameo at the Wankhede against CSK.
Thanks largely to the efforts of Suryakumar and Krunal, Mumbai were able to stabilise their innings after losing De Kock, Sharma and Yuvraj cheaply but at 112-4 with 16.4 overs played, setting a competitive target seemed unlikely.
Pandya and Pollard found themselves in the middle together and wasted no time getting to work with the Indian excelling with a superb display of power-hitting. He went berserk in the final over. After Pollard had already done his share of damage, Pandya came on strike when they ran three. He proceeded to dispatch the final three balls of the innings for two sixes and a boundary.
His innings of 25 off eight deliveries made a massive difference and swung the pendulum Mumbai’s way. He wasn’t done yet though. While he’s been expensive with the ball this season, Pandya came good on this occasion. He was aided by a seaming wicket off which he managed to generate some bounce as well. His final over, the last of the match, did hurt his economy but also earned him a wicket as he finished with figures of 3-20.
CSK’S RUN ENDS
This was always pegged as a clash of titans even if CSK went into the encounter as favourites. Despite finding themselves in precarious situations this season, they always seemed to come through and get the job done with Dhoni leading the way.
After three wins from three, Mumbai ensured their winning streak went no further. It was a pretty convincing win for the home team and CSK certainly need to address some issues. Their bowling in the death overs will naturally come under scrutiny. Another cause for concern is the collapse of their top order.
Champions usually respond though and how CSK approach their next game against Punjab will say a lot about their title credentials this season.
The stunning partnership between Sunrisers Hyderabad‘s opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow has dominated the 2019 season of the Indian Premier League so far and Eoin Morgan can’t help but liken their unlikely alliance with another that produced startling results over a decade ago.
The southpaw has watched as his England team-mate has forged a fruitful relationship between the wickets with Australia’s Warner and sees parallels with the partnership Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney enjoyed at Manchester United despite being involved in an ugly incident at Euro 2008.
After England’s last tour of Australia in 2017-18 which was marred by accusations of sledging, Warner and Bairstow were certainly known to have their differences but Morgan maintains that their ability to put those aside and flourish for their franchise isn’t surprising.
“The two of them are team-mates for the moment but that is the beauty of playing franchise cricket,” Morgan told ESPNcricinfo. “You do get to rub shoulders with guys you never thought you’d play with.
“Thinking about it since in different sports, in football it happens all the time. Compare Portugal’s game where Ronaldo got Wayne Rooney sent off [at Euro 2008], and had to go back and play for Manchester United two weeks later. It’s trickier circumstances, but I’m sure Jonny is learning a huge amount from other guys that he’s rubbing shoulders with.”
After putting up a 185-run stand for the first wicket in a comprehensive victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, Bairstow and Warner have now notched up a combined tally of 452 runs in three matches. The pair lead the run-scoring chart, Warner topping it with 254 runs followed by Bairstow’s 198.
Morgan, who went unsold in this year’s IPL auction, insists that the ECB’s relaxed policy towards franchise cricket has been justified by the performances of England players in recent editions.
“In the last three or four years it’s been a huge step forward for us,” Morgan said. “We’ve not only had a lot of guys in demand for IPL teams, we’ve had guys go out and be contenders for MVP of the tournament, and that says a huge amount about the cricketers we are producing and the guys going out there with aspirations. It really does raise the standard of our own game within the international team.”