A Chris Gayle special, a record hat-trick, a criminal no-ball and more in Cricketnext's review of the second week of the sixth season of the IPL.
Innings of the weekWho else, but Chris Gayle? The West Indian blaster scored his second unbeaten half-century of IPL 6 to down defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in Bangalore last Thursday. It was pure belligerence from Gayle, who larruped nine sixes in an unbeaten 85 off 50 balls to hasten an eight-wicket win for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Few teams end up on the winning side after a Gayle special, and such was his touch on the day that what could have been a tricky chase ended up being a cakewalk. The early exit of Mayank Agarwal for 12 and a maiden third over from Jacques Kallis was smoothed over by some punchy shots from Gayle who kept the asking rate in control. Gayle's fifty came up off 32 balls with a single off Sunil Narine. Kallis was then savaged for two more sixes, one of which was a no-ball, and sixes No. 8 and 9 came off Balaji to clinch victory with 15 balls remaining.
Bowling spell of the week
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's opening burst of 3 for 18 - in which he was on a hat-trick - looked a shoo-in but later in the same match, Amit Mishra prized out four wickets in the 19th over to stun Pune Warriors. Chasing 120 for a win, Pune crashed from 76 for 3 to 106 and needed 14 runs in 12 balls. Mishra, with two IPL hat-tricks to his credit, was given the ball and proceeded to pull the ground from underneath Pune's feet.
Off the second ball of the penultimate over, Pune captain Angelo Mathews miscued a big shot to long-off. A single later, Bhuvneshwar was adjudged lbw for 0. Rahul Sharma slogged at the next and was bowled, and the hat-trick came when Mishra slid a goodly past Ashok Dinda and onto the stumps. Sensationally, Hyderabad had defended 119 to win by 11 runs. Mishra thus became the first bowler to take three IPL hat-tricks.
Catch of the week
The winner is Mumbai Indians' rookie allrounder Rishi Dhawan, who held a one-handed stunner during his team's win over Pune at the Wankhede Stadium. Dhawan's effort was simply brilliant; running around to his right from deep cover, the youngster lost the ball as it came down but held it with an outstretched hand to end top-scorer Mitchell Marsh's innings.
Tragedy team of the week
Delhi Daredevils just don't have it working for them in IPL 6. No matter the venue or conditions, the team from the capitol just keeps on losing. During the week they suffered two losses to extend their winless streak to five. On Friday, they scrapped hard in a low-scorer against Hyderabad but didn't have enough runs to defend. On Tuesday, RCB meted out a seven-wicket defeat to the beleaguered side at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Delhi remain at the bottom of the pile.
Benchwarmer of the week
Glenn Maxwell. For the second week running, the IPL 6 millionaire watched on the from sidelines.
Brain fade of the week
Step up, RP Singh. With CSK needing two to win off the last ball, Ravindra Jadeja edged a wide delivery outside off stump straight to third man and was caught, but Bangalore's celebration was short-lived as RP overstepped by a big margin. Jadeja took a run while the catch was being taken and the extra run for the no-ball helped Chennai snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It wasn't a mistake, it was a crime.
Upset of the week
Few would have backed Pune to beat CSK in their own backyard but that's exactly what happened on Monday night at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Indebted to two of their Australian imports who pitched in with clutch innings at either end of 20 overs set up a match-winning total of 159 for 5, Pune then put in an excellent performance in the field to beat the two-time IPL winners.
Aaron Finch took on a strong CSK bowling attack from the start, dominating an opening stand worth 96, and after a flurry of wickets it was Steven Smith's 16-ball 39 that ensured Pune had a fighting total to defend. Defend they did, with Bhuvneshwar striking early blows that crippled the home team and Smith holding three catches to win by 24 runs.
Spat of the week
That Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir are temperamental Delhi boys is known, but to see the two share words during KKR's match in Bangalore last week was ugly. The incident came after Kohli was dismissed for 35 during RCB's ultimately successful chase. As Gambhir ran past Kohli he muttered something which his opposite number did not take kindly to. Kohli returned the verbal joust, causing Gambhir to turn and rush towards his India and Delhi team-mate. With the two spewing abuses, another Delhi player, Rajat Bhatia, quickly intervened between the two angered batsmen. It was not a pretty sight.
Humdinger of the week
Match 21 of IPL 6 ended in a tie, forcing the second Super Over of the season which resulted in Ravi Rampaul striking twice to secure RCB a thrilling win that moved them to top of the IPL 6 leaderboard.
What looked a straightforward chase, with RCB on 129 for 2 needing 24 runs in 25 balls with eight wickets in hand, dramatically and bizarrely turned into a mad dash for the finish line. Five wickets fell for eight runs in 16 deliveries, after which RCB's eighth-wicket pair scrambled a bye off the final ball to level the scores. That forced the one-over eliminator, which saw Delhi's opening pair knock off the 16 needed for victory. The team from the capitol needed six off the last ball, but Rampaul kept it full and straight and snuck it under Ben Rohrer's bat to spark mad celebrations at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday night.
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