Chennai Super Kings have done it again in the eliminator and are one step closer to reaching their fourth IPL final after their 38-run win over the Mumbai Indians. The defending champions played perhaps the best cricket they have all season as they trounced Mumbai and are now one step closer to defending their title as champions of the IPL.
Mumbai Indians’ skipper Harbhajan Singh, won the toss and elected to field first in a high pressure, must-win game. The decision seemed to pay off immediately as Dhawal Kulkarni pegged back CSK with two wickets of consecutive deliveries in the second over. Chennai were left reeling at 1/2, but Badrinath and Hussey consolidated well making sure no further wickets fell. Chennai broke lose after the 9th over and wrecked havoc on the Mumbai bowling which was on top till then. Indian captain, MS Dhoni came up with the innings of the match as he smashed 51 runs of just 20 balls which included a six that went 112 metres – the longest in this edition of the IPL. Dhoni along with Bravo took CSK to a formidable 187 runs.
Needing 188 to win, the Mumbai Indians started aggressively but lost their first wicket in the 5th over when Sachin Tendulkar was run out, almost sacrificing his wicket for Dwayne Smith. The Chennai bowlers with the fall of Tendulkar’s wicket started to tighten the screws and the next few overs were a nightmare for Mumbai as they saw a procession of Mumbai batsmen heading back to the dugout. With the team tottering at 102/6 in the 14th over, the game was almost over and Pollard’s wicket four overs later sealed the match for Chennai.
The Turning Point
Dhoni’s innings was the turning point of the match and his 51 of just 20 balls made the difference in the end. Without that innings, CSK would have probably just managed to reach a decent 140 -150 and would have had to play out of their skins to defend that. Dhoni’s cameo at the end gave them the edge and further more it probably dented heavily the confidence of the Mumbai team, who till he came to the crease had been on top. Dhoni’s innings was crucial as it acted as the catalyst, changing the tempo of the CSK innings.
Where did Mumbai go wrong?
Mumbai probably messed up the toss. In a pressure match, it is always better to have the runs on the board, but their think tank thought differently going by the success the team has had chasing in the past. Having said that, they probably should have restricted CSK to 10 – 25 runs less. 188 was always going to be difficult and the scoreboard pressure in a must win match just adds to the difficulty. Once Sachin got out, their batsmen seemed to be on the edge and never looked relaxed. The tension of the situation probably got to them then.
So what happens now?
Chennai Super Kings progress to the second qualifier in the playoffs to face the Delhi Daredevils, and the winner of that match will play Kolkata Knight Riders in the finals. The 2012 IPL journey for Mumbai Indians comes to an end with this match. However, they are now eligible for the qualifiers for the Champions League T20 later this year.
The match though an one-sided affair was one of high quality cricket and the last few overs of the CSK’s innings was a stunning sight to watch. Chennai completed a clinical win and the whistles are out as Chennai fans enjoyed every bit of it. If you are a Mumbai fan, it was just one of those days when the other team played better cricket.
CSK is a team that just manages to raise their performance in the playoffs and we saw that again. With most of their players in form, Delhi Daredevils have a very tough task ahead in the second qualifier.