It was instinctive: Ashwin on mankading Buttler
R Ashwin (L) and Jos Buttler exchange a few words after the Punjab captain controversially mankaded the England wicketkeeper batsman. (BCCI Image)

Controversy erupted at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Monday night and at the centre of it was R Ashwin, the Punjab captain, who Mankaded Jos Buttler. The incident took place in the 13th overs, when a set Buttler was on fire and leading the charge when Ashwin took off the bails with the England wicketkeeper outside his crease. (READ: Gayle, bowlers set up Punjab’s win after Rajasthan implode)

At that stage, Rajasthan were in control on their chase of 185, placed comfortably at 108 for 1, but Buttler’s dismissal for 69 triggered a collapse that saw the team lose nine wickets for 56 runs. The mankading mode of dismissal is within the rules but of late, has been padded with the benefit of at least one warning offered to the batsman. (READ: Gayle quickest to 5000 runs)

“No real argument to that (Mankading incident) and it’s pretty instinctive,” Ashwin said during the post-match presentation ceremony. “I actually didn’t load and he left the crease. That’s always been my take on it because it’s my half of the crease. I was not even at the crease, he wasn’t even looking at me and he just left the place. We ended on the right side of the coin, but I definitely think that those are game-changing moments.”

With Rajasthan going strongly to reach 64 after the Powerplay, to restrict them to 170 was a testament to how Punjab pulled things back post the Buttler dismissal. Sam Curran bowled a stunning over, removing Steve Smith and Sanju Samson in one over, and with that the wheels came off. Ben Stokes, after hitting a six off the first ball was caught in the deep and so was Rahul Tripathi as Rajasthan eventually finished on 170 for 9, falling short by 14 runs.

“We all know that after six overs it is going to slow down and gives a bit for the bowlers. Credit to bowlers on how they bowled. I have been working on a lot of variations, so pretty pleased that it came out. Also, getting the ball to duck back into the right-hander was a big plus,” Ashwin said.

“[There were] lots of pluses. Shami’s form, Ankit’s ability to bowl and come back into the game. Mujeeb delivered the goods. Sam (Curran) had a bad day with the ball, but he came back well. Everybody ticked their boxes. We do have a few options amongst our midst, but if we can have good five overs, there is nothing like it.”