Priyam Garg looked rather sheepish even before he faced his first ball on Friday night. The baby-faced teen from Meerut had only just made his way to the middle of the Dubai field a ball ago – at the fall of captain David Warner’s wicket – and settled into his position at the non-striker’s end. From there, he watched batsman Kane Williamson nudge the ball to square-leg in the hope of retaining the strike at the end of the 11th over. But Garg only left Williamson stranded halfway down the pitch and immediately turned pink as the Kiwi stared him down.
Not much was going Hyderabad’s way at this point – the successive-ball dismissals of Warner and Williamson had left them reeling at 69/4 with only nine overs to go. And not a lot was going young Garg’s way either. Apart from running out Hyderabad’s middle-order mainstay for 9, the Under-19 player had little to no match practice. Since the end of India’s U19 World Cup campaign in February, Garg had played only one match of consequence – his IPL debut a fortnight ago, where he scored 12.
MS Dhoni hasn’t had the best of times, professionally, since the final of the previous IPL. There was that ordinary World Cup campaign, followed by a long leave of absence – one that was broken by his retirement from international cricket. Then there was the start to this edition of the IPL, which saw CSK starting and finishing Friday’s game at the bottom of the table.
He walked in at the fall of Faf du Plessis’s wicket (caused by a Garg run-out), with CSK reeling at 36/3 at the end of six overs. Four overs later, Dhoni and CSK had crawled to 44/4 at the halfway mark. From there on, it took plenty of luck (such as Bhuvneshwar Kumar pulling up injured in the penultimate over) and madness from Ravindra Jadeja for Dhoni’s side to lose only by seven runs.