The Deepak Hooda run-out: fair or not?
The penultimate ball of the Sunrisers Hyderabad innings was a wide outside off stump from Keemo Paul, a slower ball. Deepak Hooda swished at it, missed, and non-striker Rashid Khan called him through for an extra run. The ball rolled through to Rishabh Pant behind the stumps, and he threw at the non-striker's end, perhaps reckoning that Rashid had been quicker off the mark and that there was a greater chance of a wicket at Hooda's end.
Pant's throw hit the stumps direct, and Hooda, who had collided mid-pitch with the bowler, was yards out. Or was he? For a while it seemed as if Shreyas Iyer, the Delhi Capitals captain, was mulling whether to withdraw the appeal and call back Hooda. Then Pant, gesturing vehemently, seemed to convince Iyer that the appeal should stand. Hooda eventually had to trudge back to the dressing room.
What are the rules around such collisions? It is up to the umpires to make sure that the obstruction of a batsman by a fielder is deliberate (or not). In this case, Paul was moving towards the path of the ball, with his eyes on the ball, when Hooda ran into him, and in such situations, it is the bowler who has right of way, and the batsman's responsibility is to find a way past the bowler.
In this instance, Hooda was pretty late starting his run, having gone down on his knees in an attempt to play the ball. He may not have made his ground even if Paul had not come in his way.
The Amit Mishra obstruction, explained
If that dismissal was controversial, how about this one? Here we were again, in another final over, and this time Capitals were very nearly throwing away a sure-fire win. They had needed five when the last over began, but Amit Mishra and Paul were struggling to put away Khaleel Ahmed's pace variations.
Now they needed two off three when Khaleel bowled another slower cutter outside off stump. Mishra slashed and missed, and the batsmen took off for a bye. First up, Khaleel appealed for caught-behind, and umpire S Ravi was unmoved. Wriddhiman Saha, the keeper, rolled the ball towards the stumps at the striker's end, and missed. Khaleel picked it up in his follow-through, spun around, and aimed to throw at the other end, but appeared to have sent it wide.
But wait, here was Khaleel, going up in appeal once again, pointing towards Mishra. What was the issue now?
Well, as soon as he passed the bowler while running the bye, Mishra changed course, running diagonally from the edge of the pitch towards the stumps, putting himself between the stumps and the throw. Khaleel was appealing for obstructing the field.
And so it went to the third umpire, twice over. First, a Sunrisers review for caught-behind. No edge. Then the umpires' review for obstructing the field, and it was quickly apparent that Mishra's change in direction could have had no other intent behind it than blocking the throw at the bowler's end.
Mishra slows it down
Earlier, when Mishra came on to bowl at the end of the sixth over, Sunrisers were 54 for 1. Martin Guptill was at the crease, and had hit four sixes in getting to 35 off 17 balls. Capitals needed wickets as well as containment.
Mishra provided both. He dismissed Guptill with his third ball, caught on the midwicket boundary. There was nothing obviously threatening about the ball, but it was a difficult one to hit. It was more or less in the slot for the slog-sweep, but at 76.1kph, it was considerably slower than the average speed he would end with for the day (83.5kph), and it gripped and turned fairly appreciably. Guptill, hitting against the turn, was through his shot early, and as a result ended up toe-ending it.
Mishra kept varying his pace beautifully through his spell, and the Sunrisers batsmen just couldn't line him up. There could have been another wicket too, when Kane Williamson edged an attempted glide, but the chance didn't stick in Pant's gloves.
Regardless, Mishra played a crucial role in keeping Sunrisers quiet through the middle overs, going for just 16 in his four overs and not conceding a single boundary. This shouldn't have been too much of a surprise; among all bowlers this season, he has the second-best balls-per-boundary figure.
Rashid Khan hurries 'em up
Two legspinners, two totally different styles, two hugely impressive performances.
If Mishra finished the match with an average speed of 83.5kph, Rashid was considerably quicker at 93.7kph. That's how he always bowls, hurrying the batsmen, giving them no time to adjust if they don't pick his variations, attacking their stumps.
Those ingredients brought Sunrisers roaring back into the match in Rashid's final spell of two overs. When Williamson brought him back for the 13th over, Capitals needed 66 off 48 with seven wickets in hand, and ESPNcricinfo's Forecaster tool gave them a 79% chance of victory.
Rashid bowled out his two remaining overs in one spell, and brought Sunrisers roaring back into the match, bringing his hurrying and harrying skills to the party most decisively. Colin Munro, pinned to the crease, struggled to pick him. Twice he was beaten by Rashid's zip off the pitch and was struck on the pads. Rashid let out massive appeals on both occasions. The first wasn't given, and would have returned an umpire's call verdict had Sunrisers reviewed. The second was given out and stayed out on review.
Munro had used up his team's only referral, and this would prove costly. Axar Patel went on the back foot to try and cut the very next ball, which was too close to him and too skiddy for the shot, and the ball missed his inside edge and lobbed up to the keeper off his back pad. Umpire Bruce Oxenford, however, gave him out caught behind.