MS Dhoni is not known to make a wrong move behind the stumps. How come then the Chennai Super Kings captain missed Prithvi Shaw's inside edge off Deepak Chahar in the first over? Even the best have their bad moments, maybe.
For Delhi Capitals' (DC) young opener Shaw, it was the only false step apart from being beaten by Piyush Chawla's flight and getting stumped in the second ball of the 13th over after running down the track. Between those two deliveries, Shaw exemplified the hard yards that he has put in on the Mumbai maidan on his way to becoming a precocious talent. He finally stopped on 64 off 43 balls.
That innings and the missed caught-behind opportunity came back to haunt CSK while chasing a decent target of 176. None of their batsmen could raise the tempo enough as Dhoni's team fell short by 44 runs and succumbed to their second loss of the tournament. This came even as CSK bowlers had tightened the screws on the DC batsmen by conceding just 87 runs in the final 10 overs, after openers Shaw and Shikar Dhawan had plundered 88 in the first 10.
On a big ground like at the Dubai International Stadium, Shaw never focussed on taking the aerial route. Yet, his 50 came off 35 balls. Shaw's first six came after he reached his half-century. Like many illustrious batsmen from Mumbai, Shaw put a price on his wicket. He found the gaps, especially in the cover region, and formed the base of DC's onslaught.
Shaw is not about rippling with muscles. He does not use brute force to score, relying instead on technique. Shaw has a high backlift and that is how he generates power for his shots. Against CSK, it came to the fore again and again.
"(I hit) a lot of ground shots because it's a nice outfield. I was trying to hit boundaries instead of making silly mistakes. It was about getting into a good position in the powerplay and not lose more than one wicket," Shaw said after DC's innings.
Anything short and wide, Shaw would open the face of the bat and send the ball racing towards the cover fence. There was one lofted shot over mid-off against Sam Curran in the fourth over. But that was it. No more risks, as DC maintained a healthy run-rate despite the other opener, Shikhar Dhawan, taking it slow.
In all, Shaw hit nine fours en route to his first half-century this season and was involved in a 94-run opening stand off just 64 balls. DC's grip on the match never slipped thereafter.