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Saturday, May 28, 2011

IPL4 - CSK defend their crown easily

MS Dhoni added another trophy today to his crowded cabinet - second one this year after the 50-over World Cup. Chennai Superkings are somewhat similar to how Australia were in the international cricket till late. The CSK team came prepared for the finals, knowing exactly what to do. Each member of the team were pumped up and having experienced a victory last year, they knew what needed to be done. RCB, on the other hand, had been runners-up once and seemed destined to repeat the performance once again.

When the first innings started, it was very evident how the two teams differed on the nerve-count. CSK were stealing extra runs while RCB were giving away over-throws - a reflection of the dominance of the match from very beginning. Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey have been doing a decent job as openers in this edition of IPL but today they rose to the occasion with a sterling performance. Vijay's confidence must have been boosted by his selection to the Windies tour - his booming sixes came out of the closet enabling CSK to run away from their opponents. Hussey, as his wont, rotated the strike and hit the big shots equally well. Though the batting fell away after the dismissal of the openers, the team ensured that they passed 200.

Nothing went according to plan for the RCB's bowlers. Their fielders also let them down in this crucial match by giving away runs when they were not present - Two tough chances were dropped off Vijay as well. Zaheer Khan bowled reasonably well but none of the other bowlers could make any impact. Aravind and Gayle took wickets in their last over to reduce their scoring but by then the horse had bolted.

After 205 was scored, RCB had their hopes on Chris Gayle to fire. Ashwin produced his magic to get rid of the dangerous Gayle in his first over - two balls that turned followed by one that went on with the line. This meant that the pair of Kohli and AB De Viliers had to do all the running. They hit the big shots and rotated the strike, keeping the match in interest, till Raina and Jakati produced their bits of brilliance. Even though wickets fell around him, Sourabh Tiwary did not make any effort to increase the run-scoring. He does not seem to be cut out for the big stage at this time.

Overall, CSK retained their core players which meant that they had a settled combination. No tinkering of the team was done - evidence was the fact that the same team played for six consecutive matches. Players like Southee and Aniruddha Srikkanth contributed in the earlier matches while not staying in the eleven later. The local Chennai players contributed as well - Badrinath was exceptional whenever the team was in trouble while Ashwin was the spearhead in the spin department. RCB came into the final becase of the heroics of Gayle and when the Caribbean failed, their hopes went up in a smoke. As far as Dhoni is concerned, it was a regular day at office for the cpatain.

What a captain, What a team!
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