Ravindra Jadeja won a match by hitting the last two balls for six – which was his best shot?

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If we could just ruin the ending of the sort-of-okay action film Braven for you, it climaxes with Jason Momoa throwing himself and the bad guy over a cliff but cleverly snagging his own foot in a bear trap tied to a tree so he doesn’t fall.

That’s the kind of death-or-glory, all-or-nothing move that makes for a dramatic finish. The cricket equivalent is having to hit a six off the final ball.

Cricket fantasies pretty much always involve winning off the final ball. Obviously you try and win before that, but the dream is to not quite manage it and instead end up in a position where you have to hit a last ball six.

Extrapolating from that, it’s even better to win a match by hitting the last two balls for six – which is exactly what Ravindra Jadeja did for Chennai Super Kings against Kolkata Knight Riders earlier this week.

It was very exciting and cool. But which was his best shot?

Here’s the thing: Jadeja didn’t actually need to hit a six off that final ball. He only needed a single. The fact that it was a six was therefore just garnish. Jadeja’s last ball six wasn’t necessary; it was just showboating.

So maybe the previous six was better? Well, not really, because he didn’t need to hit that six either. CSK needed seven off the final two balls, so he could have got the job done with a couple of fours instead.

This means that as far as ‘hitting the last two balls for six to win the match’ goes, this one was kind of gratuitous. We therefore put it to you that Jadeja’s best shot was actually neither of those sixes, nor the other one he hit earlier in his innings.

We put it to you, dear reader, that this next image captures Jadeja’s best shot, which was hit when CSK needed 14 runs off seven balls. Note in particular how the ball is in the air behind him.

This is a simply magnificent shot. The ones that Jadeja middled into the barren stands were great and all, but this one is flawless. This shot is a perfect example of the oeuvre, ‘massive great yahoo edged behind for four’.

Sixes are fun, but they’re most fun when there’s a bit of jeopardy about them. Clean hits that soar over the ropes are still thrilling, but they lack the frisson of possible disaster.

The ‘massive great yahoo edged behind for four’ has that quality in spades. Look at Jadeja’s head position. Look where he’s aiming. Look where the ball is.

No-one on the field has the faintest idea what is going on here. Tell us that’s not cricket at its best.


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9 comments

  1. In case anyone else is wondering, Braven is the character’s surname, I looked it up.

    That second picture would definitely be a ‘lies about pictures’ candidate in a different era of King Cricket.

  2. Perhaps someone should invent a new form of cricket in which the maximum number of runs you can score off a ball is somehow capped in a way that reflects the number of runs you actually need, thereby abolishing the purely gratuitous six from the game and ensuring maximum jeopardy.

    Some kind of mathemagician will be needed to make workable sets od rules but this has to be less daft than three team cricket and that somehow happened.

  3. Changing the subject to another part of India in 2011…

    …I read an obituary in The Economist this week which, to some extent, explains how I found myself commentating at an Interstate cricket match, as famously/infamously reported on this very site back then:

    http://ianlouisharris.com/2020/10/27/how-often-do-you-read-an-obituary-only-for-the-penny-to-drop-about-something-momentous-that-happened-to-you-27-october-2020/

    Swami Agnivesh was truly a great human rights hero…but could he have winged live commentary on the mic in Jagdalpur?

    1. I truly enjoyed revisiting that match report of yours Ged! It is still one of my favorite posts here on King Cricket. Did you save the newspaper clipping, by the way?

      1. Cheers, DC. Daisy and I enjoyed the revisit too.

        Yes, I have those newspapers somewhere. Don’t quiz me too hard about exactly where they are; I have a few ideas.

      2. You never elaborated on the fabrications about your life that appeared in the subsequent newspaper report about your commentary stint.

      3. Hmmm, it was a long time ago, but I recall that we were laughing over drinks that evening because every material fact as Jolly was translating the piece seemed wrong or exaggerated.

        We did chat in the King Cricket piece about the translations/transliterations of the names seeming odd; John & Jenny Herries or some such.

        But also there was the presumption that we were married and the strong implication that I am a cricket commentator by profession, not a holiday maker who had been press-ganged.

        http://ianlouisharris.com/2011/02/06/the-day-i-was-press-ganged-into-becoming-a-live-cricket-commentator/

        I have added good scans of both of the articles to the above Ogblog piece. Perhaps one of the King Cricket readers who is fluent in Hindi would care to provide a translation; especially of the Bastar Sun piece which I seem to recall was the worst offender.

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