When Murali Vijay is at his riveting best, he is a treat to watch. The gift of timing is something that every batsman craves for, but only some are bestowed with. Players like Murali Vijay blessed with it make batting look extremely easy, and watching them is an elevating experience for the viewer.
The Murali Vijay has been bestowed with this rare gift of timing, and he uses the blade to cast a spell on the viewer. And, on the 25th of May 2012, at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai, Vijay rose to the occasion when CSK needed him to fire.
A stylish begining
The stylish right hander started the innings in style by lofting off spinner Sunny Gupta over mid off for a boundary. It was a shot where sheer timing carried the ball almost past the ropes. Vijay repeated the shot again off the delivery, but this time it was all along the ground and the cherry raced to the boundary.
The third ball of the fifth over witnessed Murali Vijay at his best. Andre Russell steamed in and delivered a fast and low full toss on middle stump, and Vijay sent the ball racing past square leg with just a flick of the wrists. The opener was stamping his authority over the game, and the crowd was on its feet for their local hero.
Vijay’s next boundary was a joy to watch. Varun Aaron steamed in and delivered a ball on middle stump, Vijay gave himself room and smashed him through the off side. Aaron had raw pace, and Vijay was dealing with him head on. This was fearless display from the CSK opener.
At the halfway mark, the CSK outfit had scored 83 runs, and had lost just one wicket. They were in cruise mode, and Delhi was desperate to break the partnership. Skipper Virender Sehwag introduced himself into the attack, in a bid to get a break through.
Vijay welcomed Sehwag to the bowling crease by dancing down the track and smashing him over mid wicket. The ball did not travel the distance he would have liked to. Taylor, at deep mid wicket, grabbed at the ball, the cherry stuck to his fingers, but unfortunately for him, he landed on the boundary rope.
Vijay continued his assault on Sehwag. A delectable cut past third man was followed by a massive six over mid wicket. The man was growing in confidence, and the crowd at the MA Chidambaram stadium roared its approval for their local boy.
A delight for the crowd
Vijay continued to delight the crowd with some superlative stroke play. Off the fourth ball of the 13th over, Vijay moved to the leg side, and smashed Aaron over cover for a boundary. Off the first ball of the 15th over, Sunny Gupta tossed the ball up, Vijay accepted the invitation gleefully, and deposited the ball in the second tier.
The opening batsman reached his century with a flick to square leg. He raised his bat in celebration to acknowledge the deafening cheers from the stands. It was an innings of pure control, class and pristine hitting. There was no element of slogging in that knock, and the crowd was treated to a special knock from the willow of Vijay.
Vijay’s innings came to an end off the last ball of the innings. Off the final delivery, Vijay went for the second run, Naman Ojha dislodged the bails, and a tired Vijay was short of his ground. He departed for a magical 113, after lighting up the night sky in Chennai with his effervescent stroke play.
Chepauk had not seen an innings of such class, especially in the shortest format, like they did, on that day. Vijay is indeed a gifted cricketer, and we witnessed what happens when that gift manifests itself in all its glory on 25th May 2012.