Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Tonight’s encounter at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium promises to be a mouth-watering clash. An in-form Chennai Super Kings side takes on the best team of the tournament so far, Mumbai Indians.

But then, even the last match at Ferozeshah Kotla, New Delhi – between Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore – had promised a lot. In the end, it turned out to be pretty easy win for the hosts. I have a feeling that the CSK v MI match will be a better contest because I don’t expect MS Dhoni or Sachin Tendulkar to make any selection error like the one made by Anil Kumble at Kotla.

Last time when these two teams met, Suresh Raina played a brilliant knock, well-supported by S Badrinath. MI’s bowling, after grabbing the 2 early wickets, looked toothless (for once in the tournament). However, MI’s batting, led by the Master, chased down a seemingly daunting target of 181 with consummate ease. Sachin Tendulkar has hit only 1 six in this tournament thus far, and it came in that particular match against Muttiah Muralitharan when he danced down the track and deposited the wily Lankan over long-on boundary.

The hosts have a much better look to their squad now with the addition of Doug Bollinger. His much-talked-about ability to hurry on to the batsmen caused a lot of discomfort to the RR batsmen, and effectively won the match for CSK. I don’t know if MS Dhoni has thought about dropping Matthew Hayden. Apart from that one blistering innings with the Mongoose, he has not contributed a lot at the top. Hayden can be replaced by Mike Hussey, who is also an exceptional fielder – certainly much better than Hayden in the field. Hayden’s absence from the team might even help in dousing the competitive spirit of Harbhajan Singh, who just loves competing against this and few other particular Aussies.

The visitors, on the other hand, have a very settled look to their squad. They have always found someone who raised his hand up during sticky situations and got them out of it. The youngsters have fired well, and the bowling attack is one of the best in this tournament. However, CSK will be buoyed by the fact that MI has looked fallible in the last few matches. That they have managed to come out on top of such situations is a different matter altogether.

Chepauk, the stadium as well as the crowd, has always been kind to Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh. But then, Twenty20 is a completely different cup of tea. The motivation is a lot more for the hosts, who not only want to enter the top-4 once again, but also seek revenge for their defeat at Brabourne Stadium. But then, once SRT has the bat in his hands, he does not need to search anywhere for motivation. It’s there within.

No comments: