Dick Rowe, as head of A&R for Decca records, was the man credited with failing to sign the Beatles. “Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr Epstein” he infamously opined, preferring instead Brian Poole and the Tremeloes who he felt would be easier to manage, coming from nearer to London than Liverpool’s Fab Four.
We all make mistakes and have to be brave enough to make them. Sometimes, though, fate can be cruel and the impact can be more calamitous than deserved. That may be just what RCB’s Dan Cristian will be reflecting on after today’s mauling by the Chennai Super Kings prevented his team winning their fifth consecutive match.
The Super Kings innings had started to wobble at 111 for three when Ravi Jadeja, yet to get off the mark, crunched a pull off Washington Sundar straight to Christian at mid-wicket. Nine times out of ten it would have stuck, but today was that one time it didn’t.
Jadeja went on to hammer an extraordinary 62 off 28 balls, including a record-equalling 37 runs off a shellshocked Harshal Patel in the final over. The Super Kings went on to win by 69 runs, Jadeja super-charging an innings that looked to be drifting to a way below-par score.
In intense heat, Christian cut a sorry figure, at one point seen hunched over with an icepack on his head. But Dan, take heart. Dick Rowe didn’t sign the Beatles that day back in 1962, but he went on to sign the Rolling Stones. There’s always the next game. The next catch. The next opportunity. Today’s match-loser may equally be the next match-winner.
Today’s winner, though, emphatically, was Jadeja. Having been given that life, the last over of the CSK innings was extraordinary. Patel will have been feeling confident, having already taken the key wickets of Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis and having been on a hat-trick for the third time in this IPL already. Not to mention that with 12 wickets before today, he has the most ever wickets for the first four games of the tournament. He certainly would not have been expecting to be demolished by the Jadeja wrecking ball.
The first two balls went for six each as Jadeja cleared his leg to swing over mid-wicket and then long-on. His equilibrium now knocked out of alignment, Harshal came around the wicket and served up a waist-high full toss. No-ball it may have been, but Jadeja smoked it once more over deep mid-wicket for another maximum and then, in the manner of Henry VIII attacking a chicken leg, tucked heartily into the free hit, sending that away over mid-wicket too. A 25-ball fifty for Ravi, but he was nowhere near done. Just two off Patel’s low full toss may have had Harshal feeling back in control, but another full toss was swung away over long-on for six more. That was 33 off the over and one ball to come. Another maximum would have given Ravi a world T20 record, but alas his swing over square leg dropped agonisingly short of the boundary for a four.
But 37 equalled the highest runs scored in an over. Chris Gayle had got 37 against Prasanth Parameswaran, for RCB against Kochi, all the way back in 2011. The record of 38, though, remains with stocky Kiwi slogger Scott Styris for Sussex against Gloucestershire in 2012. Styris will no doubt be relieved to have his record still intact. Less relieved will be James Fuller, who played the Patel role in Hove that day.
MS Dhoni had earlier bucked the trend by electing to bat. He’s an enigmatic, but wily campaigner though and knew, first, that the intense heat would be sapping for the unbeaten Challengers and second, that his Super Kings had already won two games in Mumbai batting first. Gaikwad, Raina and Du Plessis had all moved things along at a steady rather than electric pace. Yuvzendra Chahal had Gaikwad caught in the deep and then Harshal rattled through Du Plessis, Raina and Ambati Rayudu. Dhoni, surprisingly, elected to bat himself ahead of Sam Curran when an acceleration was needed. Wily he may be, but I doubt he expected to face just three balls as Jadeja wreaked havoc the other end.
A total of 191 for four looked chaseable, but in a reversion to previous seasons, the Royal Challengers slipped back into base comedy mode. One by one, in rapid order, their galacticos tumbled as the needle of the required run-rate went beyond red to stratospherically impossible. Kohli edged Curran behind for eight; Devdutt Paddikal appeared to be still in the groove from his previous unbeaten ton, but then floated a pull off Shardul Thakur to Raina on 34.
The unstoppable Jadeja took three for 13 of his four overs, including Sundar and then the prize wickets of both Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, bowled and completely outfoxed. He wasn’t done there either. A bullet direct throw ran out, who else, but the hapless Christian?
Thereafter, something of a procession was enlivened by the timeless Imran Tahir, who despite sporting a mid-life crisis mullet and highlights, whipped out Patel and Navdeep Saini, finishing with two for 16. By the last over RCB were 81 short, but that didn’t stop a defiant Mohammed Siraj crashing Dwayne Bravo over mid-wicket for six in a knock entertaining more for the swings that missed than the one that connected.
In the battle of Ice vs Fire captains, it was the cool Dhoni who emerged comfortably victorious over the more combustible Kohli and leap-frogged the younger pretender to the top of the IPL table. But he will be thanking the brilliant Jadeja and perhaps the unfortunate Christian.
In the second match of the day the Sunrisers lost off the final ball of a Super Over against Delhi Capitals after a trio of miscalculations by David Warner.
The Sunrisers captain had been run out in the match proper after going for a single from the non-striker’s end, leaving Jonny Bairstow, with a quickfire 38, and Kane Williamson, with an unbeaten 61, to take the game to parity.
Then he backed himself over Bairstow to join Williamson in the resulting Super Over when the Yorkshireman, who had earlier smacked Axar Patel, the man who bowled the decider, for 10 in two balls, would surely have been the better choice. And after Hyderabad had managed eight in the Super Over, a check from the third umpire found that he had run one short.
Delhi needed only eight instead of nine and won with a leg-bye off the last ball of the over bowled by Rashid Khan. It put them second in the table on run-rate, level on points with leaders CSK and RCB in third.
Warner perhaps gave a hint as to why he had ignored Bairstow: he blamed him for his run-out. In a post-match interview with commentator Danny Morrison, who chided him for the times he has been dismissed in such a way, he snapped: “If you hit the ball to a world-class fielder, you get run out nine times out of ten.”