It was all a familiar sight at the Chepauk. Virender Sehwag called the wrong decisions at the wrong time. Again. Delhi Daredevils missed catches and fielded poorly. Again. Chennai Superkings destroyed the attack convincingly. Again. Some superb fielding and spot-on catching helped their cause. Again.
The questions that were circling at the stadium after the toss mainly centered around Virender Sehwag’s captaincy. Delhi had paid the price for his questionable decisions in their previous match against the Kolkata Knight Riders and one hoped that he had learnt from his mistakes. But his flawed habit of sticking to risky gambles continued and he chose to field debutante offie Sunny Gupta ahead of Purple Cap holder Morne Morkel in their most crucial match today.
The decision backfired as he went for 47 runs in 3 overs. Fast bowlers also let the skipper down as Varun Aaron was taken for 63 in his quota of four overs. Sehwag backed himself for the damage – control but his solitary over gave away 21 runs. The butchering continued and Chennai steamrolled to a massive total of 222 for the loss of 5 wickets – the hero of the night being Murali Vijay.
Vijay had done precious little for his team in the entire season before coming to party this tonight by stealing the show with a thundering knock of 113 off 58 deliveries. The other batsmen supported him ably by keeping up the run rate and allowed him to take strike more often. Short cameos from Dhoni and Bravo took the hosts to the highest total of the season.
In reply, Delhi got of to another awful start, losing David Warner and Virender Sehwag in quick succession before Mahela Jayawardene provided some solidity with a stable knock of 55. But the lower middle order panicked as the required rate soared and Daredevils crumbled to 136 thereby losing the match by 86 runs. The Super Kings next face Kolkata Knight Riders in the final showdown of IPL 5.
Looking into the match, there are a few reasons why Chennai was able to outplay Delhi. Keeping aside the debatable “luck-factor” of MS Dhoni, I enlist here three major points where CSK outshone DD.
1) Strange gambles – This will be the talking point in Delhi for a couple of days now. One has to search frantically for reasons that can justify Sehwag’s decisions to leave out Morne Morkel in such an important tie. Irfan Pathan was also missed out owing to an injury. Despite failing to make an impact, Venugopal Rao and Varun Aaron held their places and flopped again. While the former seemed clueless about batting, the latter gave away plentiful runs.
2) Chennai batsmen rising to the occasion - CSK always had the firepower in their ranks to outdo any side on any day, but they haven’t been clicking as an unit. But come the play-offs, and they once again, have started to look dangerous. Those batsmen, who did nothing till date in this season were the show-stealers this evening. Here’s how they performed in the league stage and how they did tonight.
League stage :
3) Fielding and catching - This is one area where the two sides were on opposite poles. While DD made a mess of their chances, CSK grabbed them with open hands. Sehwag was pretty lethargic on the field and even Warner, their best fielder, dropped MSD once. On the other hand, CSK were acrobatic in the field and saving runs looked an easy job for them. Add to that some brilliant throwing and superb catching (Vijay’s catch at long-on deserves mention). CSK saved the runs on the field and accumulated them on the 22 yards, and thus, they emerged victorious one more time.
Look out Knight Riders! The Lions are roaring…..