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Thursday, April 26, 2018

MS Dhoni and team CSK sail past RCB with sixers !!!


IPL is club Cricket ~ nothing greater than that ! – yet so many fans did not sleep till it was midnight and went to bed seeing that bludgeoning big hit that sailed over !!

Yesterday, it was appraisal time !! -  Gautam Gambhir stepped down as the skipper of the Delhi Daredevils in the VIVO IPL 2018 on the back of a string of losses. The team lost five of their six games and will have to play catch-up to qualify for the playoffs. Gambhir made the announcement in Delhi ahead of their second home game in the presence of coach Ricky Ponting and CEO Hemant Dua. “As the leader of the ship, I take complete responsibility for where we are in the points table and I have decided after seeing the points table and the performance of the team to step down.

It is all about strategies – RCB had a game plan – they have the best batting combination. At this year's auction, they snapped up the entire Kolkata Knight Riders 2017 attack - Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme and Nathan Coulter-Nile - that bowled them out for 49. With Coulter-Nile, the most successful among that lot, injured for the season, they opted for an oddball replacement in Corey Anderson!

MSD won the toss, decided to bowl at Bengaluru in the 24th match .. .. Quinton de Kock top edged in the 3rd over, ball went high, and we remembered Kapil running back – this time it was 36 year 293 days old MS Dhoni, who kept running (with pads on) and almost reached the skier, managed to pull the ball back, saving 2 runs – keeper running over the boundary line – and all spoke he is old – infact, the entire CSK is a bunch of oldies !!!

Match Summary is RCB aided by classy AB de Viliers 68 (off 30) and Quinton de Kock flier 53 (37)  posting 205/8 – still managed to lose to yellow CSK with 2 balls remaining.  Ambati Rayudu made 82 (53) and MSD remained unbeaten on 70 (34) including that winning hit. 

The pressure naturally was on the chasing team ~ but Dhoni has the knack of shifting it back. It was 30 off 12 – Mohammed Siraj the bowler – first 4 balls read 0-1-1-1 - : 27 off 8 ! ~ then Dhoni vanished one over point – Siraj was all nervous bowling 3 wides. But even otherwise, Anderson probably would not have contained .. .. the news is - Chennai Super Kings picked up their fifth victory through thunderous performances from two heroes - Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni - in an explosive performance. They made nearly half of the 206 target with the 17 sixes they hit at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.  
 
Dhoni the cool Champion  has made an entire career out of putting opponents under pressure and coming out on top from such situations, as was evident in the 19th  over when young Mohammad Siraj bowled a ten-ball over that went for 14 runs, with his side still marginally holding the upper hand. Siraj had gone for 19 off his previous two overs, and with 30 needed from 12, another such over would have made things difficult for Super Kings. As it turned out, Dhoni's sliced six over point upped the ante, forcing Siraj to miss his wide yorkers and slow bouncers.   At 21 required off seven balls, even if Mohammed Siraj had completed the penultimate over without needing four attempts at the last ball, Anderson didn't look like he would have defended the runs. The allrounder, had gone for 16 and 15 in his two overs before the last one, and conceded 17 runs off four balls to finish with figures of 3.4-0-58-0.

Statistically, Dhoni has a penchant for chase. Yet, in IPL, out of the 22 times MS Dhoni won the toss in IPL matches at Chennai , he has opted to bat first 20 times! – at Bengaluru it was different.  Virat Kohli completed his century of matches as captain in Twenty20 cricket. He became the third Indian after MS Dhoni (245) and Gautam Gambhir (170) to do so. Umesh Yadav in his  100th match took his 100th wicket.  ~and .. ..  MS Dhoni has finished an IPL match on winning note with a six 4 times.  33 sixers were scored in the match   – a new record for an IPL match. In all Twenty20 cricket there has been only one match where more sixes were hit – 34 in Central Districts – Otago match at New Plymouth in 2016 (33 sixes were also hit in Colts CC – Colombo CC match in 2016).

RCB losing was pathetic.   They had seven bowling options on the night to defend 206  and their two best bowlers - Yuzvendra Chahal and Umesh Yadav - bowled out their overs for a combined 3 for 49. The two other spinners were given a combined four overs, the better bowler of their two allrounders - Colin de Grandhomme - didn't have a bowl, Washington Sundar 1 and, yet again, a glaring lack of a death-overs plan resulted in an embarrassing collapse. With 70 required off 28 balls, Umesh put down a simple chance at extra cover that would have ended Rayudu's innings. It was perhaps the only time Anderson's plan of sliding cross-seam length balls across came close to working. By the end of that over, he was truly found out - Rayudu hit balls from the same line outside off over extra cover and then over midwicket – and then there was Dhoni – the success.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Apr 2018.


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