IPL 2021: Delhi Capitals begin with a Saturday night Shaw. Of all the unquoted excerpts from the media in Ricky Ponting’s recent statements about Prithvi Shaw – most of which are very disappointing – the one that got the least column space or airtime is this: ”
The Delhi Capitals coach was not the only one who expected Shaw’s cent to drop; the whole Indian cricket team was like that. For a man who has just heard of his youth, it is remarkable that Shaw has already seen as many conflicts as he has. There was a drug ban and there was a tragedy in his return to Test cricket in Adelaide – his 0 and 4 runs symbolized the team’s humiliation in the final 36/9. He has not played for an Indian team since but news of his conversion came with 827 runs Vijay Hazare Trophy.
But because millions of viewers are reluctant to tell television over 50 home competitions, Shaw has decided to put his energy back into the neon-lit show as they do – in the first weekend IPL 2021 match, against Chennai’s MS Dhoni Super Kings no less. And the T20-loving nation, along with Ponting at the Delhi mining site, together watched Shaw’s cent drop in as the most mature 21-year-old in world cricket today hitting seven 72 runs. From only 37 balls.
Coming out on the 38th, he was out. But it was enough to make all the remaining matches, as well as a 7-wicket win at the end of Delhi, just to look. Because from Shaw there were fists on foot walking to the fence in the form of a carpet and secretly hitting the front foot and sailing into the rural stadium, Wankhede Stadium. Shaw was particularly fierce against his Mumbai teammate Shardul Thakur’s bowling – hitting him with three buttocks (back) (back) in the fifth over. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t enjoy cutting Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja again.
Shaw’s show was enough to make his team-mate opener Shikhar Dhawan 85 runs seem like a supportive act, especially because until the young man on the stage was actually him. But the real shadow of Shaw’s knocking was not thrown over Dhawan but left to CSK’s Suresh Raina, who was returning with his IPL back in 2019. Raina has made it to the count and his 39 – yes 39 – IPL fifty. But apart from CSK hitting first, Raina made her huge fan base wait a while before she returned.
In the fall of CSK’s wicket that opened Faf du Plessis in the second over of the game, broadcast cameras focused on where the fans would be, if they were allowed to enter Wankhede Stadium for the second match of this IPL — looking at CSK’s hole. Because, in the fall of the first open wicket is where Raina traditionally came in to beat CSK, and expectations were much higher than usual on Saturday with his entry in No. 3, mainly because the highest run-getter skipped last season in 2020 for family reasons. In the pit, however, it was not Raina who was ready to be introduced; his partner in Moen Ali Ali was like that. Understandably, since Ali was playing ODIs and Tests in the country a few months ago and Raina was no longer functioning properly. Fact: Between the 2019 IPL finals, which took place before the World Cup in England, and in April 2021, Raina had played five competitive matches for her country. At the time, he was making news not about his strike but about his retirement from international cricket and the IPL. Now he was there, watching the first CSK belt in the area where he had won most of his 5368 runs in the franchise.
But waiting for Raina to take the crease did not last long. Three balls, accuracy. The first ball of the third over, Chris Woakes kicked Ruturaj Gaikwad and when Raina was soon in his favorite yellow, ready to face his first ball in 23 months. He could have made it worthwhile to wait for the three-time champion, hitting the last ball of the Woakes by covering four. But Raina’s chains did not open, because the truth was that she put her time in the beginning. Not so much to find his feet but because Ali was carrying big guns on the other side.
So much so that at the start of the ninth over, Raina was in run-a-ball 16: half of those races won by two consecutive submissions by R Ashwin, his CSK team-mates with eight overs. It was only after Ali left the ninth over – not before he beat Ashwin by six goals in the first two balls – that Raina reminded CSK of what they had lost last season. He also rocked back and planted a short ball from R Ashwin to midwicket representing his first six players – and Ashwin’s third over – and he simply did not look back.
There were two big trade marks holding Amit Mishra’s leg in the 12th over and when he lifted Marcus Stoinis with the ropes to finish the 13th over, Raina had his 50s. But just as he was about to leave that record, he was run by Jadeja, who ran back to Avesh in his second run attempt (Avesh cleared Doni two balls later). But thanks to another left-hander for Sam Curran, who took the real light from his brother Tom’s swimmer, CSK came to 188.