It took Ravindra Jadeja one over to derail the four-match win streak of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League 2021. He was the man with the Midas touch. Everything Jadeja touched turned into gold for the Chennai Super Kings, whose quest for a playoff berth received a turbo boost with their defeat of Bangalore.
Jadeja’s all-round skills were never in doubt. Sunday’s superlative show merely underscored it. Except for taking a catch, he did everything expected of an all-rounder. It settled all doubts about his fitness and place in the Indian squad.
For a thin, wiry man, Jadeja hits the ball a long way. We have seen that in international matches too. The one against England in the 2019 World Cup remains fresh in memory. This was an occasion to remind us of his six-hitting ability. A 28-ball 62 was more than adequate proof; all of them were thoroughbred cricketing strokes. That was followed by a spell of 3-13 and a direct hit to run out of Dan Christian.
To be fair to Virat Kohli’s RCB, they were in the game till the penultimate over faced by CSK. At 154/4, they would have expected a total of around 170. More so with Harshal Patel’s clever mix of slower deliveries. The medium-pacer had hauled RCB back into the match earlier with a double strike when CSK threatened to run away with it. And he had been miserly in the slog overs in the previous games.
Jadeja had a charmed life, having dropped by Dan Christian off Patel even before Jadeja had scored. The situation was tailor-made for him to slog away.
The first three balls sailed over the fence in the arc between long on and midwicket. One of them a no-ball. A two was followed by two more sixes as Patel lost his line, length and rhythm. It was carnage. When the last ball rolled over the fence, 37 runs had accrued from the over. And 36 of them came from Jadeja’s bat. Those runs sealed the fate of the match.
The Jadeja menace continued for RCB when they batted. He took the wind out of their chase by sending back their stalwarts, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers and Washington Sundar. A direct hit accounted for Christian. Match over.
RCB crashed to their first defeat of IPL Season 14. Rather a humiliating loss, considering the 69-run margin. Worse, it was a one-man demolition job.
Shyam A. Krishna is Senior Associate Editor at Gulf News.