The jokes on Sir Ravindra Jadeja can continue. The humourous crown has sat very
well on the much-maligned cricketer. In fact, ever since Jadeja has received his ‘Sir’
name, his performance has gone from good to great. In the game against Kolkata
Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens on Saturday, he was once again the
superlative performer. After making a significant contribution with the ball, he came
out all guns blazing to lead Chennai to victory with a breathtaking innings, at a stage
when KKR actually looked favourites to walk away with a surprise triumph.
Had Jadeja not come up with superb cameo at the end of the innings, the result of
the clash might well have been different. In a simple chase which went haywire and,
in which most of the Chennai batsmen barring Michael Hussey struggled, Jadeja’s
confidence came to the fore. The left-hander also reiterated his big-hitting prowess
in the game. The fact that he smote three fours and three sixes out of the total of
14 balls that he faced, tells the story of an exceptional knock that left the opposition
Earlier in the evening, Jadeja also made his presence felt with the ball. Although the
fact was that he capitalised on the good work done by the other bowlers, his three
quick wickets at the end went a long way in ensuring that KKR did not end up with a
competitive total. With both bat and ball, it was due to Jadeja’s efforts at the fag end
of the innings that Chennai managed to turn the game their way. Even in the short
period this season it has been evident that Jadeja is a much improved cricketer than
he was 12 months ago.
And while Jadeja continues to impress game after game, KKR would be highly
disappointed over yet another poor effort. Their batsmen played some extremely
poor shots to hand over the advantage to Chennai on a platter. Their performance
was particularly disappointing considering that they got off to a flyer, Gautam
Gambhir opening with Yusuf Pathan this time. Both of them were successful in
finding the crucial early boundaries, but fell just when they needed to carry on to
bigger scores. While Gambhir can be excused for a rare failure, Pathan’s run-
out was particularly unsatisfying. After a long wait, he had got a start, but it ended
following a terrible mix-up.
Once Yusuf fell, KKR completely fell apart. To their credit, Chennai ensured KKR did
not make a comeback after the big breakthroughs courtesy some skilled bowling and
radiant fielding. The run-out of Jacques Kallis, without facing a ball, was a case in
point. Kallis’ dismissal was an omen that even this wasn’t going to be KKR’s game.
And, it wasn’t. They did stage a fightback with the ball. All their bowlers chipping in
with contributions, and when Hussey was dismissed the game seemed theirs. Of
course, Sir Jadeja had different plans altogether.
Turning point of the game: Three massive sixes by Jadeja, which completely tilted
a tight clash in Chennai’s favour.
--By A Cricket Analyst