Jasprit Bumrah’s incredibly accurate yorkers may have denied Gujarat Lions a victory against Mumbai Indians but the home team played high-quality cricket in the dying moments of the match to push it to a super over.
After scoring only 153 runs, Lions had given away 104 runs until the 13th over. But then some smart bowling by Faulkner and Basil Thampi brought Lions back in the game. This exceptional bowling effort was supported equally well by the fielders to ensure the heavy batting line up of Mumbai was choked in the final overs of the chase.
The spectacular ground fielding was a key feature of Gujarat’s inspirational performance. We take a look at the five top fielding moments from the death overs that enabled Lions to stay alive in the match.
#1 Irfan Pathan’s run out of McClenaghan, 18.6 overs
It was a mediocre IPL 2017 debut for Irfan Pathan until the 39th over of the match. He had found no buyer in the auction and was in Gujarat’s team only because of an injury to Dwayne Bravo. He scored just two runs and his only over was trashed for 16 runs. He was quietly standing at fine leg when McClenaghan brought him back in the action.
With 12 needed from seven balls, Mitchell McClenaghan paddle scooped Basil Thampi towards fine leg. The ball was in the air for a while and he had to make a quick choice, whether to run in and go for a catch or to stand back and prevent runs.
The Baroda bowler tried to go for the catch but the ball landed in front of him. By that time, he had committed for a dive. The ball after landing spun a little and was going away from Irfan who didn’t panic and stuck his hand out to gather the ball.
McClenaghan was storming for the second run to keep Pandya on strike for the final over, but Pathan, after an effective fielding effort, quickly threw the ball directly on the stumps to find the batsman considerably short of home.
This brilliant effort by Irfan saved one run for the team which in the end, mattered a lot.
#2 Jadeja’s direct hit sent back Bumrah, 19.3 overs
With all hell breaking loose around him, Krunal Pandya stayed aloof and looked determined to steer Mumbai home by belting Irfan for a six on the first ball of the 19th over. All he expected from Bumrah was to bring him back on the strike.
And Bumrah obliged. He softly deflected a slower one towards point and went for the single. But to the Mumbai batsman’s misery, Sir Ravindra Jadeja was patrolling the point region. His quick pick up and throw, all in one motion was impressive but even more spectacular was his bulls-eye. Without any hesitation, the left-arm bowler rocketed the ball towards non-striker and dismantled the stumps.
Gujarat fielders didn’t even wait for the third umpire’s decision to begin their celebrations. Pandya was back on strike but Sir Jadeja, with his electric movements, had saved the team a vital run.
#3 Jason Roy’s fielding at boundary, 19.4 overs
To begin with, it was a strategic blunder by Raina. Keeping the third man fielder inside the 30-yard circle to Irfan, who was bowling wide of the stumps to prevent batsmen from slogging, was not a smart move and Pandya exploited the flaw by steering one away from the fielder.
The ball was racing to the fence before Jason Roy pounced on it from deep point. The English cricketer ran fiercely and bent down to collect the ball safely and then threw it back, all with swiftness. He conceded two runs but prevented the boundary and saved two runs.
The highlight of his fielding effort was the way he kept distance between the ropes and his body. He anticipated that he might have to dive in to stop the ball and hence to have a buffer, ran a few feet parallel to the fence.
At the end, this thinking helped him as his shoes were agonisingly close to the boundary rope while fielding the ball, but didn’t touch it.
#4 Jadeja again direct hits to tie the game, 19.6 overs
It is hard to keep a man like Jadeja away from the action. After getting a run out on the third ball of the last over, all he needed was another opportunity. And to his delight, he got one.
With one run needed from one ball, Irfan went for the yorker on pads which Malinga missed. It struck on his pads and ballooned in the air towards Jaddu at point. The Saurashtra all-rounder collected it at an easy height and without consuming any time threw the ball to the striker’s end.
It was a brave call as he had a better chance at the other end. McCullum was covering the non-striker’s stumps and Malinga was not even half way down when Jadeja geared up for the throw. But he aimed the closer set of wickets and with only one stump to target at, he produced his second direct hit.
It was a tantalising close affair as Krunal Pandya had given it all for the single. The replays revealed, when the ball crashed on the stumps, Krunal’s bat was on the crease. Phew! Only a centimetre away from a win.
By the time the big screen flashed the ‘out’ signal, Sir Jadeja had completed a 30-yard celebratory sprint and had leapt in the air for the Toyota jump. And why wouldn’t he celebrate?
#5 Ishan Kishan takes a pressure catch, super over
After getting hit for a four and a six, James Faulkner came back strongly in the super over to get rid of Kiron Pollard. On the very next ball, he bowled an away swinger to Jos Buttler who went for a wild swing.
Courtesy of Buttler’s enormous power, the ball went in the air, miles high even after taking a top edge. After what seemed an eternity, it came down towards the point region.
Three fielders were closing in on the ball, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina and Ishan Kishan. Karthik had the advantage of being the man with the safety of gloves; Raina is a seasoned campaigner for such catches and has the reputation of being a safe pair of hands. And Kishan was the most inexperienced among the three.
But the young man had the best chance, so he took on the risk of circling under a skier. With the pressure on him and a ball that was floating in the air, Kishan stood firm and took a sensational diving catch to end Mumbai’s super over.