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IPL 2019 daily brief: Stubborn bails, and Russell who?

by Manoj Narayan 5 minute read
Image credit – AFP

Another double-header in IPL 2019, but it was all a bit underwhelming. Two one-sided matches, in which Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders claimed easy points, while Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals, the bottom two, further cemented their spots down there.

Despite there being no close finishes, there were still a couple of moments of drama – of course – that will serve this column well.

What’s hot

Kolkata Knight Riders. While plenty have touted Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad for the honours at this edition of the tournament, Kolkata have slipped by unnoticed, raking in result after result. At the moment, they’re enjoying the view from the top of the table, and thanks to Andre Russell, have a superior net run-rate to second-placed Chennai.

They put in another solid performance in Jaipur, seeing off Rajasthan with utmost ease. So much that, Russell was a bystander for most part. He didn’t get to bowl. He wasn’t needed to bat. And there wasn’t even a catch to his name.

Kolkata proved they were about more than just Russell.

What’s not

Bails. On Sunday, for the third time in IPL 2019, the bails lit up but refused to budge when Chris Lynn inside-edged Dhawal Kulkarni on to his leg stump. Not only did the bails not budge, the ball ended up at the fence, suggesting there was enough force in the ball to go the distance, but somehow not enough to dislodge the bail.

MS Dhoni has been at both sides of such a scenario. Against Rajasthan again, Dhoni, when on nought, earned a let-off and ended up making 75*. Then, against Kings Xi Punjab, Dhoni managed to effect a trademark no-look run-out behind the stumps, catching KL Rahul well short, only for the bails to remain stubbornly in place. It’s becoming a big issue, this.

Why is this a problem at all? Some suggested the stumps are just dug too firmly into the ground, and needs to be loosened up. Others blamed the bails itself – is the LED lighting making it too heavy? Ajinkya Rahane didn’t quite weigh in on all that, but he did make the pertinent suggestion that the ball should be declared dead as soon as this happens. It’s not fair on the bowler that the batsman gets awarded runs, despite doing what’s asked of him.

What they said

“We can’t really change the situation. If we stop enjoying, the rest of the games can be a suffering as well, which we don’t want.”

Virat Kohli on his only option now – and something that might actually work in their favour.

What they didn’t say

“Who needs Russell?”

The Kolkata management, after the all-rounder went unused in all departments against Rajasthan.

What’s next

Hyderabad v Punjab! Both teams head in on the back of losses – Punjab to Chennai and Hyderabad a shock defeat to Mumbai Indians. Who will bounce back?

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