|Photo Source: Cricinfo|
The Kings XI Punjab (KXI) played a match in the picturesque (not visible on screen as this was a night match) Dharamshala against Delhi Daredevils(DD) in order to decide who was going to occupy the bottom half of the bottom half if you leave Pune Warriors (PWI) aside. Quite a contrarian situation to that in PWI's match against KKR at Ranchi , two days ago that turned out have been upsetted by the kick on a ball-in-play by Yusuf "most-valuable-player" Pathan. Pathan , who has somehow managed to blossom at the fag end of this edition of IPL, was given out for obstructing the ball on 72 and KKR lost the slim chance to stay in game for the qualifiers. Never mind that the top order of Gambhir, Kallis, Bisla failed with the bat while Kallis disappointed with ball too. Like that day, KXI 's fate hung by a thin thread to fortunes of other teams for the qualifiers.
But then the emotions at the KXI-DD match had a strong under-current of skepticism. The events that had developed at the start of the day when 3 players of RR , currently playing in IPL6), were arrested by Delhi Police from their Mumbai hotels on allegations of spot-fixing the day after RR's last match with MI. Although the commentators avoided the 'f' word , spectators were watching with their third eyes. Fans are not sure whether what looks like reality is just an illusion or whether an illusion is indistinguishable from reality in real life, anyway.
Like for instance, when Morne Morkel was bowling his pair of short-pitched lollipops and good-length snorters , an swashbuckling off-drive from Gilchrist was flying away to the point boundary when out came Umesh Yadav on the screen . Umesh was standing right on the boundary and didn't move an inch when the ball landed on his folded hands and then just bounced out . Was that Morne Morkel's "promised runs" or Umesh Yadav's folly or whatever? Soon after another ferocious cut from Shawn Marsh flew over the empty second slip as Sehwag dived full-length to the left (that's a rare sight) only to miss touching the ball by inches. And then Siddhart Kaul took a stunning catch (see photo) to dismiss Azhar Mehmood. Looked like the players were trying to perform 120% to avoid any suspicion. In the end David Miller thumped Umesh Yadav & Siddhart Kaul alike as KXI beat DD by 7 runs & and hangs with a slim chance of going to the qualifiers.
Photo Source : IPL official photo archives