Six balls of savagery

A look at the most explosive overs yet in IPL 5.

Condensed formats elevate the value of shorter phases of play. Which is why an over – and the six legal projectiles it comprises – assumes a pivotal role when utilised to maximum effect, often radically swinging a game in the time it takes to microwave a bowl of popcorn. In the skewed world of Twenty20 cricket this is mostly the handiwork of batsmen - although half-a-dozen balls of craftiness delivered to a plan of action are not entirely ruled out. This particular article revisits the game-changing overs, with the willow, that we’ve yet had in IPL-V.

A.B. de Villiers & Saurabh Tiwary versus Ashish Nehra (1,4,6,6,1,6/ RCB vs PW):

When Ashish Nehra let out an expletive after spearing a yorker into Chris Gayle’s woodwork, he would have considered the job half done. The West Indian’s exit caused the required rate to spiral upward and when Ashok Dinda bowled a fabulous 19th over for just seven runs, Bangalore needed 21 to win in Nehra’s last over. The left-arm paceman conceded a single to Tiwary on the first ball and de Villiers came on strike, immediately going for the Dil-scoop, losing his balance and yet finding the boundary. The South African then pummelled a full-toss high over long-off for maximum gain. Another six off a marginally over-pitched offering and Bangalore were suddenly favourites, needing 4 off 2 balls. de Villiers stole a single on the penultimate delivery, leaving Tiwary to flat-bat another length ball with all his might over long-on. Nehra was speechless. Bangalore elated. Another victory for the shortest format, another death blow to the tribe of bowlers.

Chris Gayle versus Rahul Sharma (1,6,6,6,6,6/ RCB vs PW):

Bangalore needed 107 from 48 balls, when Rahul Sharma, who’d bowled his previous over for just four, ambled in for his second. Tiwary handed Gayle the strike first ball, and what followed was sheer brutality. The second ball was powered over long-off, the third blasted over mid-wicket. The fourth was despatched in a manner most dangerous – the ball tracing a flat path right over the bowlers head and crashing into the stands. Rahul came around the wicket for the fifth ball, but the result was the same: a soaring strike over long-on. The last ball was courageously flighted, and Gayle latched on to it and sent it sailing into the crowd on the leg side. One over, five sixes and 31 runs later Bangalore were well and truly back in the game.

Ajinkya Rahane versus Sreenath Aravind (4,4,4,4,4,4/ RR vs RCB):

Rajasthan were going at just about six runs an over when Sreenath Arvind ran in to bowl to Rahane. The first two balls displayed the young batsman’s class to the max – two exquisite straight drives, completed with the full face of the bat, that sizzled past the clueless bowler.  The third delivery was scooped over the wicket-keeper for the same result. Aravind’s attempt at a slower ball was pulled for a one-bounce four. A full-toss followed, and was happily cover-driven to the fence. The last hit, a careess to the third-man fence, was the icing on the cake, as Rahane yanked Rajasthan’s innings out of its slumber, setting them on course for a huge total.

Albie Morkel versus Virat Kohli (4,6,4,6,2,6/ CSK vs RCB):

The die appeared to be cast when the defending champions needed 43 to win in two overs,before Kohli’s 19th over – a surprising bowling change – modified the equation drastically. Albie Morkel took strike for his first ball and inside-edged for four. The next was carted for six over long-on. Another edge – this time the outside – raced to the third-man boundary. Morkel hammered a six to being the inflow to 20 runs off the first four balls. And he wasn’t finished. After haring through for a brace, the South African heaved the last ball over long-on for the biggest hit of the over, which conceded 28 and brought Chennai back in contention.

Brad Hodge versus Dale Steyn (0,1,4,4,4,4/ RR vs DC):

Fifty-five runs were needed off four overs when the greatest fast bowler in the world today began his third over to Johan Botha, who was beaten for pace on the first ball, before running across for a single on the second. Hodge then revved into action, cutting and flicking boundaries, before making room to slash over the slips. Steyn steamed in for the last ball and the extra effort translated into a loose half-volley, which Hodge smashed through cover. Four boundaries in as many balls in an over that was expected to put the ask beyond Rajasthan’s scope. But Hodge, later declared man of the match, had other things on his mind as he took the attack to a contemporary great and came up trumps.