Emotional Roller Coaster: Parag’s throwback, teething captain Samson, insult and injury for Stokes


Almost too clever by half

Has any bowler stooped so low as Riyan Parag did against Chris Gayle? We have seen Kedar Jadhav, occasionally even Ravichandran Ashwin drop the bowling arm and fling the ball — they call it side-arm ball. But Parag dropped his right arm so low that it was no longer side; it almost veered into underarm territory. Gayle was so surprised that he patted it back softly. A surprised umpire had a word with the bowler. Next ball was over-arm alright, and Gayle holed out to long-on. It’s a devolution of sorts: initially all bowling was underarm before a law change allowed round-arm stuff like what Parag tried. Only in 1864, over-arm bowling, the kind what we see these days, was legalised. Perhaps Parag was in mood for nostalgia.


Teething captain

A good length Mustafizur Rahman ball nipped back and caught Mayank Agarwal flush on the pads. The entire Rajasthan Royals unit lit up, but the umpire wasn’t interested. The focus then shifted to Sanju Samson – in his first match as skipper of the team – as the DRS timer started to run down. In editions gone by, Samson the keeper, would advise the captain who would then call for the review if required.

Now he is the captain, and the decision was his to make. The responsibility betrayed the deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression on his face.

He started the match confident in his bowling decisions but in his first ‘think-on-your-feet’ moment, he let the clock put him out of his misery. No review called.

The replay declared it would have been out.


Everyday is not Stokes’ day

In a 2019 World Cup game against South Africa, Ben Stokes, running backwards towards the boundary, had taken a blinder of a catch. In comparison, KL Rahul’s lofted effort towards long-off should have been a simple one for the Rajasthan Royals player. Stokes duly glided to his left, got down elegantly but then put down the catch. He hung his head low, stood up and then waved his arms, clearly disgusted at putting down the catch.

The Punjab Kings captain was on 15 at that point.

Stokes was tossed the ball for the next over. His first delivery was to Rahul. The opener made space and lashed at it, sending the ball to the same area Stokes had put down the catch at, minutes ago.

Rahul went on to finish the innings with a score of 91 to add insult to injury. The scowl lingered. And Stokes got out on a duck in the second innings.

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