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IPL 2017: RPS vs KKR - SK Play of the Match - MS Dhoni's street-smart wicket-keeping sends back Sunil Narine

Despite the initial setback, KKR managed to cruise to victory.

Feature 27 Apr 2017, 01:14 IST
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Dhoni’s smart keeping ended Narine’s stay at the crease

Four days ago, at this very venue, we saw the return of Dhoni the finisher just as his critics questioned his relevance in the IPL. In today’s match between a consistent Kolkata Knight Riders and a resurgent Rising Pune Supergiant at MCA Pune, we witnessed Dhoni, the smart wicketkeeper, with his trademark help-the-ball-on-to-the-stumps run out.

See the video here.

Earlier in the day, KKR won the toss and asked RPS to bat in line with the current trend of winning by chasing in the tournament. With useful innings from almost everyone who batted, they ended with a score of 182 for 5. The pick of the batsmen was the captain Steven Smith who scored an unbeaten half-century.

KKR, in reply, opened their batting with their captain and their trump card in this tournament, Sunil Narine. Narine’s wicket in the first six overs was going to be crucial for RPS as he had shown in the earlier games that he had the ability to explode in the powerplay.

KKR’s strategy was out in the open – Narine would score in boundaries while Gambhir would rotate strike whenever he had a chance. Narine smashed one four off Unadkat in the first over and two fours off Thakur in the second over. At the end of the second over, their plan seemed to be working as Narine stood on 15 while Gambhir stood on 1.

Extra Cover: 5 moments from the RPS vs KKR match that don’t fade away

Washington Sunder came on to bowl in the third over. Off the fourth delivery, Gambhir looked to squeeze a single having tucked the ball fine. Shardul Thakur, who was fielding at short fine leg, dived smartly and hurled a throw at the wicket-keeper. That is when we got to see the classic street-smart cricketer that is Dhoni.

It was the classic Dhoni “flick on”

With his back to the stumps, he placed himself perfectly in the line of the throw and a touch of his glove helped the ball on its way to the stumps. Narine had no chance whatsoever and was gone by quite some distance. Dhoni’s efforts helped RPS control the powerplay as KKR scored only 45 runs in their first six overs.

After the dismissal, though, RPS were unable to build on the momentum as Robin Uthappa and the skipper blasted Smith’s side out of the contest. Once the powerplay was done and dusted, Uthappa took on Sunder and the bowler ended up bleeding 20 runs in the 8th over. After that, there was no turning back for Uthappa’s team and KKR ended up chasing down the target quite comfortably. They were helped by some ordinary bowling from RPS and some truly awful fielding.

RPS would do well to focus on the positives from the game – Rahul Tripathi’s solid showing as an opener yet again and Dhoni’s form with both bat and gloves. They might also want to look at their bowling line-up and find answers as to why they are repeatedly falling short of defending totals greater than 180. On another day, a moment of brilliance like the one Dhoni produced might have won his side the game.

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