IPL 2019, Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab: House sinks after Jos Buttler falls

IPL 2019: From cruise mode Rajasthan Royals implode dramatically, post opener Jos Buttler’s controversial exit brought about by R Ashwin’s ‘Mankad’ run out.
Maybe, it was a case of desperate situations calling for desperate measures. A sublime Jos Buttler was taking the game away from Kings XI Punjab, when Ravi Ashwin resorted to what the purists would call dark arts. Mankading is widely considered to be against the spirit of cricket, notwithstanding its legitimacy as a mode of dismissal. And the Kings XI captain didn’t even warn the Rajasthan Royals opener, who was at the non-striker’s end, batting on 69 off 43 balls.

The IPL 12 had its first moment of controversy. Ashwin was bowling his final over, the 13th during Royals’ chase. Asking-rate hovered around 10 runs per over but the way Buttler had been batting, the victory target of 185 looked achievable. While bowling the fifth ball of his over, Ashwin seemed to have stopped in his action and waited for Buttler to leave his crease. He, then, Mankaded the non-striker and appealed.

Third umpire Bruce Oxenford upheld it and Buttler was furious. He and Ashwin broke into an animated conversation before the former departed. Two years ago, the MCC had brought in a host of changes to the Laws of Cricket. The custodian of the game’s Laws, however, retained Mankading. In fact, a subtle change to the law gave the bowlers the licence to run-out the non-striker up to the instant at which they “would be expected to deliver the ball”.

For Buttler though, getting out in that fashion didn’t serve a novelty. In 2014 at Birmingham, the England ‘keeper-batsman had been Mankaded by Sachithra Senanayake during an ODI against Sri Lanka. The Edgbaston crowd booed the Sri Lankan offie, while then England captain Alastair Cook suggested that a “line had been crossed”. Buttler, however, had put things in perspective.

“It is obviously the batsman’s error,” he had said, adding: “If you walk out of your ground and someone wants to do it, it is in the laws of the game. It is all part of the game.” Going by his own admission, Buttler failed to learn from his mistake. Still, Mankading is a mode of dismissal that would always be frowned upon.

At the end of the match, Ashwin and Buttler had a very perfunctory handshake. “We take this incident sportingly and we move forward,” Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane said, while mentioning that the match referee “would take the call”. Ashwin, on the other hand, said: “No real argument to that. I didn’t even load and he left the crease. It’s always been my take on it, because it’s my half of the crease.”

When Buttler was dismissed, Royals required 77 runs off 43 balls. Steve Smith came to the crease. On his IPL return, he showed intent, taking a four and a six off Sam Curran. But KL Rahul took a blinder, running in from long-off and diving to his left, to dismiss Smith and two balls later Curran removed Sanju Samson. Ben Stokes and Rahul Tripathi departed inside four deliveries. The Royals’ innings fell apart. From 148/2 after 16.2 overs, they finished at 170/9 after 20, losing by 14 runs.