Superman is bald. If you were here on Tuesday evening it would have been easier to believe that. Agreed the assertion is a bit far-fetched, but anybody who saw Herschelle Gibbs take a flying catch at backward point to dismiss S. Badrinath wouldn't completely dismiss it.
Shahid Afridi bowled short and wide and Badrinath went for what seemed a half-hearted cut. The bottom edge went wide off Gibbs who moved to his left and went full stretch in the air to catch it.
Hyderabad's fielding and its captain Adam Gilchrist's batting helped them defeat Chennai by seven wickets and hand the home team its third straight defeat in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.
Gilchrist standing in for V V S Laxman, who sat out because of an injured arm, put Chennai in first. His team fielded out of its skin to restrict the home side to a low score here at the M A Chidamabaram Stadium here on Tuesday. Later, the Aussie scored a 36-ball 54 to settle the score in his team's favour. The visitors reached the target in 18 overs losing three wickets.
Gilchrist used both brute force and deft touch in his shots. He hit Makhaya Ntini over long-on and mid-wicket for two sixes. But when Muthiah Muralitharan came on, he used all the finesse to place it between short fine-leg and the wicketkeeper for a boundary.
He was out to a brilliant catch at point by Badrinath. But Hyderabad batsmen were already set on their way to overhaul the target.
Even earlier in the evening, it was a story of super catches and sublime fielding. It began with Parthiv Patel who, while trying to hook P. Vijay Kumar's short-pitched delivery, top-edged it to the right of R.P. Singh at fine-leg who covered a lot distance to complete a difficult catch.
Then, Hyderabad's Rohit Sharma, at cover point, seemed like he was watching the action in slow motion. He just plucked a blinder of a catch to send Stephen Fleming back. The New Zealander had powerfully struck an uppish square drive and the ball might have zipped to the boundary had Sharma not jumped and caught with both hands.
The story for Chennai has been pretty much the same in the last two matches. Their batting looks clueless without Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey. They should thank Suresh Raina and Albie Morkel for being consistent and are doing as much repair as can be done with a top-order that keeps failing. M.S. Dhoni too chipped in with his usual powerful hits to add 39 with Raina. But he got out in an unusual manner when he pulled a flat delivery to his pads and it lobbed up to Afridi at point.
Patel c Singh b Vijaykumar (6b) 4
Fleming c Sharma b Styris (16) 14
Anirudha c Afridi b Singh (7) 1
Raina c Sharma b Bangar (21) 32
Badrinath c Gibbs b Afridi (4) 0
Dhoni c Afridi b Ojha (31) 23
Morkel not out (19) 29
Joginder b Singh (10) 16
Gony not out (6) 15
Extras (lb-6, w-4) 10
Total (7 wickets; in 20 overs) 144
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-15, 3-33, 4-43, 5-82, 6-86, 7-124.
Bowling: Vijaykumar 3-0-17-1, RP Singh 3-0-12-2, Styris 3-0-24-1, Afridi 3-0-27-1, Bangar 4-0-36-1, Ojha 4-0-22-1.
G’christ c Badrinath b Morkel (36) 54
Gibbs c & b Gony (10) 10
Styris not out (41) 36
Rohit c Badrinath b M’tharan (17) 23
Afridi not out (6) 20
Extras: (lb 1, w 2, nb 2) 5
Total: (for 3 wkts in 18 ovrs) 148
Fall of wickets: 1-24, 2-78, 3-125
Bowling: Ntini 4-0-37-0, Gony 3-0-15-1, Morkel 4-0-26-1, Joginder 3-0-45-0, Muralitharan 4-0-24-1.