Monday, April 26, 2010

Even God falters….tactically…. & loses !!!

That is exactly what happened at the DY Patil Stadium tonight, the venue for the finals of the IPL 3, between Chennai Super Kings, who proved the ultimate victors over the Mumbai Indians, who faltered to deceive & lost their way when it counted the most.

The match had all the settings of an electric affair, with potentially & arguably the best two teams of the tournament facing each other. On one side was the Chennai team in their bright yellow jersey, led by their captain cool, MSD & on the other side was the mercurial God of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, leading the Mumbai Indians. He had decided to play the finals, despite five stitches on finger webbings of his right hand. In fact both his hands seemed to be heavily bandaged or taped to provide support against the jarring & jerks. The crowd has swelled & gathered to watch a humdinger.

With Dhoni winning the toss, it was evident that they would bat first to post a big total, & then challenge the Mumbai line up. However, inspite of a decent steady start with 42 for no loss at the end of 6 overs, it was quite difficult to score & wickets started falling due to pressures. It looked like the Mumbai Indians were working on a good game plan & it took all of 14 overs for the Chennai batters to cross 100. However, two simple skiers off Raina were dropped in the field, & Raina cashed on the opportunities to blaze an unbeaten 57 off just 35 deliveries. He was ably assisted by Dhoni at the other end. The final score soared to a very healthy 168 after the allotted 20 overs. From almost losing out, the Chennai Super Kings had clawed their way back into the match. Mumbai had given away too many runs in the death overs. It was a tall ask now.

The Mumbai Indians were expected to fire early into their innings, but surprisingly, they were timid & suspect in their approach, giving away the first over as a maiden & losing wickets at regular intervals. With two wickets down & the asking run rate creeping up alarmingly, it was expected that either Saurabh Tiwari or Keiron Pollard would walk in….but it turned out to be Bhajji. He got out quickly, albeit a wrong decision, adding to the pressure. To add to the suspense & surprise, next came in Ambati Rayadu & then, Saurabh Tiwari & the JP Duminy one after the other. The Mumbai think tank had lost the plot & the game, right there. While, Sachin, kept waging a lone battle at the other end, it was doomsday for the home team, as Dhoni in the field was tightening the noose. By the time Pollard came in, it was an almost impossible mission of getting 55 runs off the last 18 deliveries. Pollard did manage some lusty blows, getting 22 runs of Bolinger, but it was too much for him to scale, & Dhoni had him holed out at mid off to ensure that the Mumbai team was losing.

The God….the legend……the ever young Sachin had done everything, but failed to take his side to victory. Everything was in his favour. He had the side with depth in batting & bowling & fielding, but tactically he made mistakes….crucial & silly mistakes & saw the trophy slipping away. It was sad to watch him end up on the losing side. As an individual, he won the Orange Cap for the maximum runs scored, won the Player of the tournament, but at the end of the day, ended up losing his dream…..He promised to come back next year…so we will all watch again, with prayers, but for this time, it’s a opportunity missed….surely this will rankle in his mind for a long time to come.
Chennai had finally put all their demons to the sword & bagged the winner’s trophy…. They had been the most consistent team through all the editions of IPL thus far, having reached the semis every time, & having lost the finals to Rajasthan in the 1st edition by a whisker.

Kudos to MSD for marshalling his resources wonderfully well & taking charge when it mattered the most….Way to go Mahi…Keep it up…


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