Though, many expected the IPL-4 final between defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), at Chidambaram stadium in Chennai, it turned out to be one sided. The Challengers, under the captaincy of most successful, if not ‘lucky’ Mahendra Singh Dhoni, indeed played like champions from the word go. On winning the toss, Dhoni, unlike the little master and Mumbai Indian skipper Sachin Tendulkar, did not do the mistake of putting the rivals into bat. Instead, shrewd Dhoni chose to best utilize the Chepauk strip, which always proved ‘lucky’ to the team that bat first.
Thus far, he yet again proved his ‘leadership’ skills. For him, it’s ‘double dhamaka’ in quick succession! If he had helped India win the most prestigious World Cup after three long decade- wait, then he ensured the IPL Cup for Chennai Super Kings twice in consecutive years – 2010 & 2011. After putting up a formidable 205 for five riding on a smashing 95 from Murali Vijay, the champions restricted their opponent, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the finals to a meager 147 for eight thereby winning an incredible eight match on trot at capacity Chepauk. Although Saurabh Tiwary (42 not out) hit the lat ball of the tournament for six, the celebration in jam-packed stands had started much earlier as delirious fans wearing the canary yellow jersey were seen waving the CSK flags vociferously.
Chasing 206, RCB depended on Chris Gayle (0) but the big Jamaican fell prey to the law of averages as he was snapped up by Dhoni in the very first over bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin. In fact, the match was over as a contest after that moment only. It was a faster one bowled after two classical off-breaks and Gayle went for the cut shot only managing faint edge. RCB never looked like making a match of it after that although Virat Kohli (35) tried a bit. But they lost wickets regularly as half the side was back in the dug-out after 10 overs making it the most lopsided of the four IPL finals so far. Ashwin (3/16) was again the pick of the bowlers while Shadab Jakati (2/21) complemented him well.
Earlier, CSK opener Murali Vijay (95, 52 balls, 4×4, 6×6) led the mayhem with some clean hitting and was ably supported by ‘Mr Cricket’ Mike Hussey (63, 45 balls, 3×4, 3×6) as they put on record 159 runs for the opening wicket. Hussey completed his fourth IPL half century off 40 balls. The 150 came in the 15th over and Hussey was finally out when he tried a flat-batted shot off Syed and was caught at long-on. The duo added 159 runs which is highest partnership for any wicket recorded by Super Kings. As the CSK openers took the bowlers to the cleaners, there were also helped by some sloppy work by the RCB fielders.
After watching this match, hopefully even cricketers of Dhoni world over, ought to accept “Mr Cool” emerging as the ‘best and most skipper’ in cricket playing nations history.