Thursday, April 24, 2008

Great Entertainment

I was at the M.A. Chidambram Stadium yesterday to watch the Chennai Super Kings take on the Mumbai Indians. It was a hugely entertaining night and I must admit that it was great fun watching a T-20 match in the stadium. The atmosphere was electrifying and I frankly have never seen anything like what I witnessed yesterday at the stadium. The pre-match entertainment served as a decent appetizer to what was going to be a great game of cricket.

I have been privileged to witness some great knocks at the Chepauk ground and although Suresh Raina’s half century might not be up there with the best of them, it still was a fantastic innings. Raina started of in slightly circumspect fashion but soon began to strike the ball beautifully on both sides of the wicket. His six over extra-cover of Harbhajan Singh was by far the shot of the day and his ability to rotate the strike when he couldn’t hit the big shots stood out in what was a superb fifty by the southpaw from U.P. It was Hayden’s brutal innings of 81 of 46 balls though that set up the total of 208 for the Super Kings which in the end proved to be insurmountable. Whilst he played some of his characteristically audacious shots by coming down more than a few inches to the fast bowlers, it was his reverse shot for four through point of Pollock that showed his ability to improvise when needed.

The Mumbai team was always up against it. Chasing 209 of 20 overs on any surface was never going to be easy and they made things tougher for themselves when Luke Ronchi was run out after a direct hit by the local boy Badrinath who was fielding at backward point. The stand out performer on a day of big hitting was strangely enough a bowler. Manpreet Singh Gony’s four overs for 18 runs which included the crucial wicket of Sanath Jayasurya was the spell that changed the course of the match. All the other bowlers struggled to find the right length and Jacob Oram in particular had a very poor outing. Mumbai was left with the task of getting 19 runs of the last over from Joginder Sharma which initially seemed to be all too easy for Abhishek Nayar who carted the first two deliveries for boundaries. But Joginder somehow managed to hold his nerve in the end and the Super Kings emerged successful for the second game running. A word of mention must also go to Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was once again excellent in marshalling his troops. He seems to have the knack of bringing the best out of ordinary players which is a quality that all great leaders have possessed. But Dhoni will find it harder as the tournament continues if his bowlers continue to let the team down by failing to hit the right length on flat sub continental pitches. However the availability of Nitini and Morkel from the fourth game onwards is likely to bolster the weak Chennai bowling attack.

No comments: