No, there was no MSD involved when Rajasthan Royals took on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede and yet, the presence of the helicopter enthralled and entertained everyone watching the game.
The helicopter shot has captured the imagination of every cricket lover over the years. Innovated by Mohammad Azharuddin and popularized and turned into gold dust by MS Dhoni, the helicopter shot takes a lot of skill, timing, and silky wrist-work. But more importantly, it needs proper instinct and placement.
Rajasthan Royals were left in the dust after a strong start to the bowling Powerplay by RCB. The inaugural IPL champions were on 43 for four, when Riyan Parag walked out to bat. Along with Shivam Dube, the exuberant all-rounder from Assam stitched a smart and solid partnership that allowed RR to get to a respectable total.
Parag played many beautiful shots on the way to his 16-ball 25. However, the single shot that made everyone go 'Wow!' and struggling to imagine whether Dhoni had suddenly sneaked into the stadium and worn a Pink and Blue shirt was the Helicopter shot he played off Harshal Patel's delivery in the 14th over of the innings.
The full-length delivery followed the line of leg stump and struggling to make room for himself, Parag chose violence. He cleared the front leg and with the help of some sensational wristwork, whipped his blade and directed the ball along the floor.
When a shot like that, with such powerful wristwork is executed to perfection, as was done in this case, it flies to the boundary rope. Fielders at deep-midwicket and long-on could only watch as it sailed right past them.
Ian Bishop in the commentary box used just a singular word to describe the brazen execution of that mighty shot: Stupendous!