It wasn’t meant to be Ravindra Jadeja’s night. At least that’s what it seemed for the first two hours of the game; he didn’t have to hit, his first two overs were creamed for 25 points, and a wicket was chalked for the strangest reasons, with the misplaced ball hitting an almost invisible thread. Yet, it ultimately turned out to be Jadeja’s Night. In big games, in big times, he tends to be his inevitable imprint.
But his first big moment of impact itself could have been a heartbreaking moment. Venkatesh Iyer’s mistake hung in the air for ages, giving Jadeja enough time to go from extra cover to long distance. Then at the last moment, he seemed to misjudge the grip, the ball falling shorter than he had judged. But he held out his hands, and although he lost his balance, his concentration did not falter. The bullet shot out of his palms, but those fingers didn’t quiver. He was hanging on even though half the ball was out of his hands. Jadeja did well to prevent the body from slipping completely, a frontal fall would have made her let go due to the intensity of the body hitting the ground. When he finally fell, he had full control of the ball. Taking a break from intentionally diving is hard enough, doing it when you’re not in control of your body is subliminal athleticism.
– Chennai Super Kings – P😷du Mask P🥳du Whistle! (@ChennaiIPL) October 15, 2021
It could have been so easy for him to sulk after that canceled wicket and surrender to his misfortune. But Jadeja is built with a more solid armory. Had he dropped the hold, the match could have escaped CSK’s hold. Shardul Thakur seemed to already be living on the edge, having seen edges fly away from him and catches slipping from him. Instead, his persistence with the scrambling seam paid off, as he made it a hold after pitching and stop on the batter without picking up the pace of the ball. His threat of scrambling stitching was even more noticeable when he asked Nitish Rana to rule out a mid-term workout. Rana pulled off the shot early, as the ball hung in the air for ages after throwing it. Suddenly, CSK had two wickets in the space of four balls. The match opened like a monsoon cloud.
Just Jadeja stuff! 👌
– IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) October 15, 2021
Four bullets later, they had a third, that of the potentially dangerous Sunil Narine. The ball seemed to fly off for a forward six, invariably Jadeja stepped in in the middle of the wicket. This time, he didn’t need any last minute adjustments or fingers to perform emergency juggling. The catch was measured to perfection – from his short sprint backwards to the one-legged pirouette at the edge of the fence. If any muscle in his body had rebelled, he would have lost balance and tripped over the rope. But each tendon of its synchronized seamlessly to complete the capture.
Then luck with the ball changed too. In her fourth round, Jadeja picked two wickets that effectively sealed the game for CSK. Here again, his unfazed character shone. Many bowlers would have healed the scars from the blows he had received (three overs for 34 points), but Jadeja strutted with the arrogance of a bowler on a hat-trick. Fifth bullet, he ejected Dinesh Karthik with what appeared to be a short row ball. But perhaps it was a cleverly set trap. The leg-side limit was shorter and Karthik invariably sought to hit a short ball out of the ground. But he came slightly faster than Karthik had rated him and he ended up mis-timing one of his basic shots. Maybe it was a punt, but Jadeja isn’t someone who would die ruining that ball.
The second wicket was the Jadeja Return. Flat and fast on the central stump, tilting into the body from the edge of the stumps, delivered from the width of the crease. Shakib Al Hasan, like a novice, played on the corner and looked to push him in the leg for a quick single at best, but the ball was too fast for him, delivered at 103.5 km / h, and the ‘beat for the beat. Jadeja celebrated with ecstasy, like a man who has his name written in the sky, soon illuminated by the glare of the fireworks.