Finally the Indian Premier League throws up a nail-biter with Kings XI Punjab conjuring up a 1-run win over Mumbai Indians. Mumbai had looked fairly comfortable with 3 overs and one ball left at 159-3, needing under 10 per over with plenty of wickets in hand and Sachin Tendulkar at the crease. Then came one of the biggest chokes ever seen by a team that wasn’t South Africa. A flurry of quick wickets, and the last over begins with Mumbai needing 19 to win.
VRV Singh bowls a waist hight full-toss no-ball which is dispatched for six runs first up, meaning the much more manageable 12 of 6 is the equation. A series of run outs throughout the over means that 4 are needed of 2, still doable. Then it’s 2 of 1 ball, and thus 1 to tie. A weak stroke to mid-off by the number 11, Yeligati, and they set off for the run anyway. The Punjab captain Yuvraj wisely decides not the shy at the stumps and risk overthrows, but to race the running batsmen to the stumps. He wins, the fifth run out of the innings occurs, and Mumbai’s six match winning streak is over.
We may never know why Shaun Pollock didn’t bowl the last over for Mumbai (it would likely have made a difference), and also why Yuvraj seemed so upset by the partisan nature of the crowd. There are many who might think that Pollock should take over the Mumbai captaincy from Tendulkar so he can concentrate on his batting, but only time will tell.
If only i really cared about the IPL. Even momentary excitement like this doesn’t ever compare to 5-day cricket for me, if only because in Test cricket there’s more time to buy a beer between the excitment!