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Muttiah Muralitharan

54th match: Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab at Durban - May 20, 2009

Spinners take Chennai to victory

The trio of Chennai Super Kings' offspinners - Muttiah Muralitharan, R Ashwin and Suresh Raina - choked the runs and forced Kings XI Punjab into taking risks. The figures tell the story - their combined quota of 12 overs cost only 38 runs and yielded six wickets. The most decisive phase in the chase was Muralitharan's spell. He came in when Chennai conceded 13 off an over by Thilan Thushara - the most expensive of the innings - and struck soon with the wicket of Simon Katich, who lost his legstump after shuffling across too far. The ball gripped, stopped on the batsmen and on the whole made scoring very difficult. The array of left-handers struggled to milk the singles, let alone find the odd boundary and went into their shell by shouldering arms. None of the three spinners looked easy to get away. Murali used flight and got it to grip and turn; Raina bowled a much flatter trajectory and forced the batsmen to check using their feet; Ashwin relied on bowling a more stump-to -stump line.

Yusuf Pathan

53rd match: Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals at Durban - May 20, 2009

Run-outs prove to be Rajasthan's undoing

The drama unfolded in between Charl Langeveldt's twin strikes in the second and fourth overs.Swapnil Asnodkar ran himself out after Ashok Dinda had outrun him. Asnodkar turned back after dashing off for a single and Dinda did well off his own bowling. From 22 for no loss, Rajasthan had slid to 28 for 3 in 15 balls. Kolkata then hustled Rajasthan with quick bowling and athletic fielding. When Langeveldt came back to remove Niraj Patel's wicket, Rajasthan had stumbled to 62 for 5 at the half-way stage. Two more disastrous run-outs followed. When Yusuf Pathan dug a yorker out, Jadeja called him for one, then realised the ball had traveled too fast towards Shukla, the bowler. Jadeja didn't go through, and the most dangerous batsman in the team was left stranded. Jadeja's face told a story of guilt. Three balls later, when Jadeja called Tyron Henderson for a quick single, he found to his horror that Henderson was too slow, and that Hussey had hit the stumps direct.

Praveen Kumar

52nd match: Royal Challengers Bangalore v Delhi Daredevils at Johannesburg, May 19, 2009

Bangalore seamers provide early blows

The tone was set in the first over. Virender Sehwag continued his torrid run, clipping Praveen Kumar straight to square leg off just the third ball. For a batsman who plays on instinct, the shot came naturally but the result was a consequence of some well thought out field placing, as Ross Taylor was positioned much closer than normal. When Mithun Manhas, promoted to No.3, top-edged a pull to slip two balls later, the responsibility, yet again, was palmed off to the middle order. Jacques Kallis had struggled as a bowler this tournament, capturing just four wickets and proving ridiculously expensive. But his spell today marked a stark contrast, as he used his variations well, consistently probed the batsmen by maintaining a tight line outside offstump and dried up the runs at one end. Though Delhi had been provided some release by an undeterred Gautam Gambhir, who launched Praveen for a six over long-on and put on view his subtle touch, guiding B Akhil for two boundaries through third man, a wicket wasn't far away. In fact, it was gifted to Bangalore as Gambhir mistimed an attempt to clear point to hand Kallis the reward for his persistence.

Ross Taylor

Ross Taylor swings it Bangalore's way

With 65 needed off 48, Delhi still had an outside chance, but Ross Taylor quashed it with a blistering cameo, displaying shades of the monstrous assault against Kolkata which put Bangalore back in contention for a place in the top four. He wasted little time to settle into his groove, leading the charge in the 14th over, punishing freebies from Salvi for a four over extra cover and a massive six over midwicket. Nagar then erred in length the next over to watch the ball sail over deep midwicket and deep square leg for two more sixes, before Taylor - a victim of complacency - holed out to long-on. But the damage had been done, though a tight over from Vettori next up gave Delhi the only sign of hope.


Parthiv Patel

51st match: Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders at Centurion, May 18, 2009

Chennai openers provide speedy start

The Chennai innings was set up by a 59-run opening stand between Hayden's replacement George Bailey and Parthiv Patel, who recovered some form after a disappointing run that left him out of the side for five games. Anureet Singh's first over, the second of the innings, set the tempo as Parthiv got into his groove, driving elegantly through mid-off and clipping one of his pads amid some wayward bowling. Bailey joined the list of several other Australians to have had a positive impact in the IPL, taking Dinda for two fours in the next over to prompt Brendon McCullum to remedy the situation. The openers' response to spin bode ominously for Kolkata as the slowness of the pitch meant there was little room for error, and both Murali Kartik and Brad Hodge faltered early on, dropping it short, and continuing the dubious trend of conceding extras to ensure there was no dip in momentum. The partnership was a busy one, with virtually a boundary every over accompanied by a spate of singles and twos which never allowed the bowlers to settle into a rhythm.

Brad Hodge

Kolkata stand up to be counted at the death

The return of the seamers at the death heralded a decisive turn in the game as Brad Hodge found an unlikely foil in Wriddhiman Saha, who smote a six and a four in the 17th over from L Balaji that went for 14. The next over from Albie Morkel bled 13, with Hodge collecting two fours. With Chennai short of options, Balaji's reputation to hit the blockhole was again banked on, but he was guilty of the same slip-up that cost Kolkata their previous two games. He gifted Hodge with length balls, two of which were struck clean and straight over long-off, and a generous full toss to Saha off the final ball, who duly obliged to smack it over midwicket to bring it down to six off the last over. Suresh Raina tried his best, but despite an attacking field and a dot ball first up, the wave was against him. Hodge and Saha stole singles off the second and third deliveries, a tight run to cover on the fourth, before a swat to long-on with a deep enough Jacob Oram allowed them to scamper back for the second and level the scores. With the field brought up, an incredibly calm Saha chipped Raina over cover to seal a comeback win.


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