The hand that wields a sledgehammer also caresses the canvas with delicate brushstrokes. Shahrukh Khan is a big lad who can land powerful blows; he also has the soft touch and the gift of timing.
A mere front-footed defensive push of his, off paceman R. D. Ashwin, sped to the fence off the sweet portion of the willow, defeating both the cover and the sweeper. The touch of class was unmistakable.
Shahrukh’s 43-ball 59 (6x4, 2x6) on a surface of inconsistent bounce was a major factor in Lyca Kovai Kings’ 15-run win over iDream Karaikudi in their TNPL game at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.
This was Lyca’s third win and Karaikudi’s fifth defeat; both have figured in six matches. Karaikudi, chasing 155, struggled. It laboured to 29 for one after the six Power Play overs and then went down the spiral.
Much hinged on its in-form skipper S. Anirudha. He was, however, foxed by an arm ball that hurried off the surface from efficient left-armer Ajith Ram. Batsmen made guest appearances although M. Shahjahan struck some weighty blows during his brave 21-ball unbeaten 40 which made the match a lot closer than it actually was.
For Lyca, Malolan Rangarajan varied the trajectory of his off-spinners to be among the wickets, so did seamer Antony Dhas with his change of pace.
Earlier, Shahrukh caught the eye after Lyca chose to bat. The tall batsman has worked on his set up and it showed. He was relaxed and balanced in his stance, played the length without any exaggerated initial movement, and struck the ball with authority off a bat-swing that was considerably straighter.
Abhinav Mukund, whose cuts found the gap between point and a squarish third man, and Shahrukh, a left-right pair of contrasts, raised 84 for the first wicket in 65 deliveries before a mix-up sent Abhinav (32) back.
Given the slightest of width, Abhinav cut with placement, beating the point and the man at a squarish third man. Lyca won the big moments of the game.