Sehwag has his revenge

Sehwag dispatched Sourav Ganguly's dibbly-dobblers for 12 runs in an over, in Pune.-Pics: PTI

The Delhi Daredevils skipper kept smiling all along, retaining his composure even in the presentation ceremony after Pune shocked Delhi at the Kotla. A few days later he would turn the tables on Pune in its own backyard. Over to Arun Venugopal.

Even in the whirring world that an IPL season is, it isn't too difficult to recall this visual: Sourav Ganguly running, nay, pretty much sprinting aimlessly after dismissing Kevin Pietersen. It was probably the quickest dash he had made in his career. Pune went on to shock Delhi at the Kotla that night and the hype machinery went overboard about Ganguly's ‘all-round' prowess. No, you can't bring up the fact that his batting average in this IPL is well below 20 and he hadn't bowled until that match.

Virender Sehwag kept smiling all along, retaining his composure even in the presentation ceremony. A few days later he would turn the tables on Pune in its own backyard. Chasing a moderate total, Sehwag was at his bludgeoning best. Ganguly deemed it wise to bring himself on and prise out Pietersen and Sehwag. Easy, ain't it?

But Sehwag wouldn't have a bar of that and duly dispatched his former National captain's dibbly-dobblers for 12 runs in the over. He didn't bowl again. What would have irritated Ganguly even more was he was made to chase leather a number of times. That evening, he ran more like he would and less like Usain Bolt.

Umpires turn game-changers

All the talk about an umpiring decision changing the course of a game is a bit like parental advice — you never take it seriously until it hits you where it hurts. Rajasthan Royals' heart-breaking defeat to Delhi Daredevils had several moments that could have altered the balance of the game.

But, perhaps, for Rajasthan, the most gut-wrenching one would have been the wide that wasn't given. In Morne Morkel's thundering penultimate over, Brad Hodge missed a ball that went down the leg side. While everyone thought it was wide, umpire Rod Tucker thought the ball had clipped Hodge's pads. The batsman, bowler, fielders and the umpire — for some strange reason — smiled after the decision was made.

At the end of the match, Rajasthan would have rued the ‘what could have been' moment. The team's margin of defeat was exactly one run.

Deccan Charges captain Kumar Sangakkara during a practice session. In the team's interest, Sangakkara opted out of the match against Mumbai Indians.-

A similar incident, but of lesser magnitude in the game's context, occurred in the Chennai Super Kings-Kings XI Punjab game at Chepauk. In the last over of the match bowled by Azhar Mahmood, his delivery missed the leg-stump by not much after Nuwan Kulasekara shuffled across. While the batsmen squeezed in a bye, they were shocked that the ball wasn't declared wide. R. Ashwin was even seen arguing with the Kings XI players and the umpire but to no avail. Chennai, however, lost the game by seven runs.

Sanga does a Denness

Upheavals are normally carried out at the end of a disastrous season or tournament. The captain or coach or in some cases both end up becoming casualties. In most cases, the skipper, even if he is going through a turbulent patch, plays on for the duration of the tournament. But very rarely do we come across instances of captains dropping themselves.

In the 1974-75 Ashes tour, England skipper Mike Denness opted out of the fourth Test in Sydney after a horrendous run in the series. That it made no difference as Australia still went on to out-muscle England is a story for another day.

In the ‘here and now', Kumar Sangakkara chose to do a Denness in Deccan Chargers' match against Mumbai Indians. Stand-in skipper Cameron White, who himself hasn't been a regular fixture, said Sangakkara and coach Darren Lehmann thought the playing XI selected on the day was the best and the former Sri Lankan captain didn't find a place in it.

Although the gesture was selfless and made in the team's interest, it didn't serve the purpose. Deccan Chargers ended up losing another game. Only recently had it won its first match. It doesn't look like the team can do without Sangakkara.