Dramatic ups and downs in the span of one lap for Rahul Tripathi to bring KKR home

KKR wanted 7 runs in 6 balls for a place in the final. Rahul Tripathi could easily have made “1 run in 5 balls” if he had shown the deserving disrespect for Ashwin’s long leap. He did swing the bat well, but the ball rolled too long, and just as slowly, Tripathi was dragging his feet to the non-attacking end. Had he missed the opportunity to be the hero? The next 4 balls contained all possible emotions. The players on the pitch, those in the dugout canoes, the WAGs in the guest boxes, the owners in the VVIP suits were all on a stadium-sized roller coaster ride – feeling an exhilarating rush for a moment and nauseous the following. Those last manic moments had some embarrassing ducks, a near-six. Ashwin looked like he was finally having his IPL big moment and Pant was about to be called the next Dhoni. While all of this was going on, Rahul would have burned inside for not having taken Ashwin’s first gift. On second thought, if he had killed the climax on the first ball of the Finals, it would have been so little IPLish. KKR, a franchise owned by a Bollywood star, reaching the finale without drama would have been so unreal. The next time Rahul was on strike, he didn’t fail. This time the ball crossed the long limit. Tripathi gave his toothy smile to the delight of the KKR canoe and millions of pandals around the world. As in most movies, Rahul first knotted and when the world thought he was trapped, he pulled away. Just like those Bollywood Rahuls.

Abrupt Ananthapadmanabhan

Prithvi Shaw didn’t stand a chance once he didn’t read the ball out of Varun Chakravarthy’s hands. He had planted his front foot forward and across and awaited his downfall. Chakravarthy’s ball landed a length and sank to hit the pad first before hitting the bat. The call went with referee KN Ananthapadmanabhan, who was a leg spinner with a good googly in his playing days and took his time agreeing with the increasingly anguished Chakravarthy and Dinesh Karthik. Shaw lingered for a moment to check with his partner if he should go for DRS, but Shikhar Dhawan’s suggestion was to check the replay on the lodge TV. Ananthapadmanabhan is a highly respected umpire in national cricket and in the 2019 Ranji season he umpired on both sides of the final as the other umpire got injured and the replacement was not due until later. His role model is S Venkataragavan, whose blunt manner seems to have afflicted Ananthapadmanabhan who can be quite harsh if players continue their appeals or needlessly question his decisions.

Candy and friendly throw after a torrent

It was only a shallow smile, but its significance couldn’t be underestimated. Shikhar Dhawan watched a fish out of the water against the beat of Lockie Ferguson. Ferguson threw a thunderbolt at 152 km / h and Dhawan wanted to play it past the point. But the Delhi Capitals’ opening game was a bit late and the ball rushed through. The next delivery took place at 148 km / h, the left-hander loaded onto the track, aiming to skin it above the point. Once again he was beaten for the pace. Another express delivery followed, fuller and louder on the notepad. Dhawan was still not out of place. A little later, he faced the mystery of Sunil Narine and the first ball beat the bat again. The pressure was mounting, when Narine threw a friendly throw, allowing Dhawan to break the chains. The release shot deserved a smile, relief written all over his face.

Fearless and defensive Ashwin

The only slow, steady act R Ashwin did in his first three overs was to carefully tie Venkatesh Iyer’s laces. Iyer had asked Ashwin to sort out his loosened shoelaces, and Ashwin immediately stopped wiping the dew off the ball and helped. His bowling, however, was disappointing on the defensive end. He continued to shoot the ball or cock them to the side in an attempt to contain rather than take wickets. Maybe it was the dew factor, but Ashwin, the high class spinner who outsmarted Eoin Morgan the other night with a nice crazy break or the brave guy who dared to throw it in and get out of the likes of Chris Gayle and Rohit Sharma in the past was missing. Instead, we had the version that kept shooting at them. He furiously wiped the ball away with a towel and remained on the defensive. Even the lands Rishabh Pant had offered him at the second end of the chase were defensive. It didn’t seem like there was a clear plan to take wickets and Iyer and Shubman Gill kept hitting him and pushing him to rotate the strike. He would drop a goalie a few overs later.

He had a chance to redeem himself in the last round and almost managed to do it too. He was only defending 7 points after Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje nearly scored a heist with quick wickets, but there was still Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine. Ashwin bent his knees, bent over and this time did slow curly stuff with the side arms. Not fast like the previous three overs. And Shakib fell, lbw then Ashwin kept his cool to keep the ball until Narine who made a hole in the long run. Then, with 6 points needed out of the last two, Ashwin made his first mistake. He went for the short, flat stuff and Tripathi beat him for the game’s six winners on the long-off.