IPL 2019: In season opener, spin is king

Harbhajan Singh didn’t play much Ranji Trophy or the even T20 domestic tournament but has come back for IPL. He couldn’t have asked for a better pitch than the one served at Chepauk.
“Thirumbi vandutenu sollu” (Tell them I am back) was a famous Rajinikanth movie dialogue that Harbhajan Singh used on Twitter after he was signed up by Chennai Super Kings last year. With the help of a fan Saravanan, Harbhajan indulges in a lot of Tamil tweets ranging from quotes from the great Tamil philosopher-poet Thiruvalluvar to movie dialogues – it has created much amusement on Tamil twitter but Harbhajan, who does commentary for India games these days, is certainly back. He didn’t play much Ranji Trophy or the even T20 domestic tournament but has come back for IPL. He couldn’t have asked for a better pitch than the one served at Chepauk.

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The ball spun, it peeled off slowly off the surface, and it even offered some bounce – and the combination proved deadly. Especially, when the RCB batsmen decided to bat as if they were batting at the Chinnaswamy stadium, studiously ignoring any warning that the pitch repeatedly threw at them.Even Virat Kohli played a bit of a tame shot though since he was the first wicket to fall, he doesn’t carry as much blame as the rest, including AB de Villiers, did. It was a shortish ball from Harbhajan, perhaps he felt that Kohli might go for a big one and was trying to pull the length back and it had ended up as a long-hop almost. Kohli went for the pull but was surprised by how slow the ball came. If he had read the pitch well, he would have waited that bit longer and gone more square but he was early into the shot – rather the ball came on late, and he couldn’t control the pull. There was just one fielder deep in the area, a man few yards in from the boundary at deep midwicket and Kohli found him.

de Villiers, as he said on air later, made a mess of it out there. He seemed intent on counterattacking the spinners but chose the wrong shots. He went for a sweep first and top-edged Harbhajan to deep but was dropped by Imran Tahir. He then chose the slog sweep option but again was too early into the shot and was swallowed at deep midwicket.

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