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Indian Premier League 2019

IPL 2019 daily brief: Jos Buttler, R Ashwin, and a Mankad for the ages

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

It didn’t take long, did it? Just three days into IPL 2019, and there is already heated drama after R Ashwin Mankaded an on-song Jos Buttler.

That turned out to be the turning point of the clash between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab on Monday, March 25. Rajasthan, having been favourites to boss the chase at the time, encountered a slide and Punjab won by 14 runs.

There were plenty of good performances in a fine cricket match, but few cared about all that. The Mankad incident overshadowed all else.

What’s hot

The Mankading, of course. It was the only way Jos Buttler, who was doing all sorts of crazy things, could be stopped. Until he was in the middle, the target of 185 didn’t seem much. But in the 13th over of the chase, Ashwin broke his delivery stride, watched Buttler stray from the crease, and took off his bails. The third umpire upheld the dismissal. Buttler was absolutely furious.

What followed was a debate of epic proportions. What can’t be debated is the fact that the dismissal turned the match. Royals were 108-1 before Buttler’s departure. They finished on 164-9. Punjab won, and there were absolute scenes at the post-match handshakes – Buttler and Ashwin did shake hands, but Buttler didn’t even look at the off-spinner, staring straight ahead.

Behind Buttler was Paddy Upton, the Rajasthan coach, who held on to Ashwin’s hand a second longer than necessary, whispering something into his ear. Ashwin wasn’t amused, to say the least.

What’s not

The outraging. The incident split the cricket world into two. Current and former batsmen – and national team-mates – sided with Buttler. They cried foul – ‘he wasn’t warned!’ – and the likes of Eoin Morgan and Michael Vaughan said Ashwin would regret doing what he did.

The bowlers, meanwhile, backed their man. ‘Why should Buttler have been warned,’ they asked. ‘Batsmen don’t afford the same courtesy when executing the reverse hits, do they?’

All of which is fine. It’s a controversial dismissal, and it’s bound to be debated. It’s a pity though that it overshadowed a fine game of cricket, in which Chris Gayle rolled back the years with a 47-ball 79, and Sam Curran, on his IPL debut, showed the steel to come back from a tonking to take two crucial wickets in the death.

Enough already.

What they said

“One thing we discussed before the tournament was to win this IPL for the Universe Boss, and the youngsters have got my backing.”

– Chris Gayle trying his utmost to bring the debate back to his favourite topic: himself.

What they didn’t say

“Sorry, Jos. I only did it because I couldn’t think of another way to stop you.”

“Really, it’s OK, Ash. All within the laws of the game. Pint?”

What’s next

Delhi Capitals will host Chennai Super Kings at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Tuesday, and the question is whether a rejuvenated Delhi can keep it up against the defending champions.

Chennai dominated on a spin-friendly surface at home against Royal Challengers Bangalore. If Delhi put out something for the seamers, will they be able to do the same? David Willey could well get a game if that happens, with Lungi Ngidi out for the tournament with an injury.

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