Rayadu and Du Plessis during CSK vs MI (Source: CSK/Twitter)

Phlegmatic: Du Plessis
Wha’dya expect from a team led by the original Mr Stoic Hoick MS Dhoni? But CSK teammate Faf du Plessis has a zen mode of his own. The nothing-face in fact seems to have not left him since South Africa’s World Cup last year where the Proteas sleepwalked through their campaign, with the skipper accepting their imploding fate with an impassive stoic visage. But in the opener on Saturday, Faf summoned the detached look early on when batting, as Murali Vijay declined to take the review even as non-striker du Plessis seemed to gently wheedle him to go upstairs. Earlier, while showing twinkling toes at the boundary, juggling a pair of catches back into play, Faf seemed to make it look as if the Filipino tinikling – that footstep dance where you hop through bamboo sticks along the ground – along the ropes plucking and tossing catches (2 of his stunning 3) was an everyday activity and not a pair of moments to wonder. It was only after the win was sealed that Faf broke into a smile, fist bumping with His Royal Zenness Dhoni himself.

Smirk: Rayadu
Ambati Rayadu steps down the track and smacks Jasprit Bumrah for a straight boundary. He smirks afterwards because he knows better. He knows better than the national team selectors who kept him out of the 2019 World Cup over the No.4 spot that was India’s Achilles heel. He probably felt a certain way while pressing the tweet button on that 3D glasses jibe. He knew what he was about when he tossed Hardik Pandya’s short ball for a monstrous hit last night. When you’re as good as Rayadu is and go through a whirlwind year that has less to do with talent and more to do with everything around it, what more can you possibly do other than hit a 48-ball 71 from that very No 4 spot that was denied to you — and smirk.

Elation: Pattinson

Umpire Virender Sharma was yet to give his decision, but James Pattinson was cock-a-hoop and had already begun celebrating with his Mumbai Indians team-mates. That’s because the burly Aussie pacer knew he had trapped Murali Vijay lbw with a quick, full-pitched booming inswinger. As the umpire raised the dreaded finger, replays indicated that the ball was in fact missing the leg stump. Pattinson would not be complaining because precisely two deliveries earlier, he had similarly outwitted Vijay and trapped him with a vicious slower delivery. Even though Mumbai Indians didn’t opt for a review, replays suggested that it was pretty adjacent. Looking back, the 30-year-old Victorian would be elated by this performance on his IPL debut: a sensational opening over to which Vijay had no answers.

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