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On May 28, 2008, Shaun Marsh wowed the jam-packed stadium at Mohali with a sumptuous century full of sparkling stokes for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) against Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at the red letter day in the career of Marsh.
Fans make a beeline into stadiums to watch action packed Twenty20 (T20) games full of runs. With unbridled enthusiasm, they follow the game, and every-time a batsman bludgeons a six, the crowd rejoices with an unfettered celebration.
A little more than six years ago, Shaun Marsh took the game away from eventual champions, Rajasthan Royals to help Kings XI Punjab win a group stage match in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008. Marsh has never been known to use his feet much. But on that day, he played with poise and balance to engineer a triumph for Punjab. The even bounce at Mohali helped him to lean into those drives and send it scurrying into the boundary boards.
Marsh started his boundary count with a scorching stroke through covers off all-rounder, Shane Watson. He stood tall at the crease and then used his precise timing and the ability to place the ball into gaps with perfection. He collected four more runs off the last ball of the over by thumping Watson through point for a boundary.
He continued to pummel Watson’s bowling, as he thwacked him for two more boundaries. This time around, he showcased the ability to play the savage cut and pull. When Pankaj Singh, known for hitting decent lines and lengths, came onto bowl, Marsh clouted him for a monstrous six. The pull shot Marsh essayed off Pankaj’s bowling yet again showed his uncanny ability to stay still at the crease.
As Marsh neared his century, he went for the jugular and touched lofty heights in terms of batsmanship. When he was on 91, he made a bit of room and played a thundering shot back past the bowler, Pankaj, for a six. It was a brutal hit and the bowler would have been happy that the ball didn’t come anywhere near him.
Marsh then completed his century with a single around the corner off Pankaj’s bowling. It was a thrill-a-second hundred; exactly what the jam-packed stadium yearned for. Some breathtaking hitting in the end overs by Yuvraj Singh then helped Punjab to reach an imposing total of 221 runs for the loss of three wickets on the board. The left-handed Marsh was finally dismissed during the last over of the innings by Watson caught by Younis Khan at long-on. Marsh’s knock of 115 was made up of well-timed shots twinned with eye-catching power-hitting. He struck 11 fours and seven sixes in his innings. In short, Marsh pushed the envelope of possibility in terms of batsmanship that day.
For Rajasthan, the likes of Niraj Patel, Watson the captain for that game, Yusuf Pathan and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal played handy innings, but that wasn’t good enough, while chasing down a target of 222 runs. Only Niraj compiled a half-century as Rajasthan could only manage 180 for seven in their 20 overs. For Punjab, Piyush Chawla, the leg-spinner took three crucial wickets. He used his potent weapon, the googly to good effect.
Punjab won the game in the end by a convincing margin of 41 runs.
Kings XI Punjab 221 for 3 in 20 overs (Shaun Marsh 115, James Hopes 51, Yuvraj Singh 49; Yusuf Pathan 1 for 24) beat Rajasthan Royals 180 for 7 in 20 overs (Niraj Patel 57, Yusuf Pathan 39; Piyush Chawla 3 for 39) by 41 runs.
Man of the Match: Shaun Marsh
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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