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Monday, April 22, 2019

thala MSD ~ the ultimate finisher


o   Sachin once after a famous loss when his brilliant innings went in vain said - Never leave it to others what you can do yourself !
o   In a Tamil program that used to be telecast before CSK matches earlier – one host – spoke in jest of Michael Bevan being the best finisher.  In trying to justify his hype, he went on to say ‘ Bevan got down and hit WI bowlers – Malcolm Marshall to all parts ensuring victory’.

The most coveted ‘finisher’ tag aptly fits MS Dhoni ~ IPL is most entertaining, and many a times, Dhoni’s heroics make people pass comments that matches are fixed and IPL is all about money.  To me, IPL provides the best form of entertainment – do not have too much attachment for any of the clubs, just watch – big hitting -  especially in the last overs – players like Andre Russel, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni, Kieron Pollard – you will just love it. 

Finisher (noun) would mean  - a person or animal that finishes an athletic competition; a worker or machine involved in the last stage of making a product:

In Feb 2019,  India lost the final T20I against New Zealand by four runs. India came close to winning the game, but could not cross the finish line. The visitors needed 16 runs in the last over.  Dinesh Karthik was at the crease, managed two runs in first ball and the dot in the second ball.  When he hit the third ball, there was a possibility of a single, but he refused. Krunal Pandya, who was batting really well at the end, had no idea on why he was denied the single. In the end, India lost by four runs with Karthik smashing the last ball for a six.  .. .. there were comments & memes in the social media of his trying to emulate but falling flat off thala Dhoni. 

What a match yesterday – score Card reads : Royal Challengers Bangalore 161 for 7 (Parthiv 53, Chahar 2-25) beat Chennai Super Kings 160 for 8 (Dhoni 84*, Steyn 2-29) by one run ~ but only those who saw the match will understand the tension and gripping final over. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their campaign hanging on with a last-gasp, one-run win over Chennai Super Kings at M Chinnaswamy stadium, surviving an MS Dhoni special as the Super Kings captain marshalled the chase expertly but couldn't quite get his team over the line. Parthiv Patel's second fifty of the competition glued Royal Challengers' innings together, but their 161 for 7 didn't look like enough to challenge the table-topping Super Kings outfit. Dale Steyn spearheaded a spirited defence with two wickets in his first over, and at the end of the Powerplay, Super Kings were floundering at 32 for 4.

Then there is always thala Dhoni to rely upon.   Dhoni's unbeaten 84 off 48, ensured that the match went down to the wire, and were it not for Parthiv's dhoni emulating direct-hit , the game would have gone into a Super Over. Super Kings needed 70 from the last five, and 26 off the last over. Off those last six balls, Dhoni crunched three sixes - one clean out of the ground - and a four, but couldn't lay bat on the final delivery when two runs were needed to win. Called through for a bye, Shardul Thakur dived to make his ground, but Parthiv, who had his right glove removed, threw down the stumps with the batsman inches short to secure a vital win for Royal Challengers by the narrowest of margins.

In the final stages, it was all happening – RCB had  an over each from Chahal, Yadav, Steyn, Navdeep Saini and Marcus Stoinis to play with. Dhoni reached his 50 with a massive hit off Dale Steyn. Dhoni repeated the result with an  uppercut of a  Saini no-ball over third man.  In between a couple of occasions, Dhoni denied Bravo single.  There were some criticism on this count too.   However when he got the chance to bat, Bravo was caught-behind in the penultimate over to leave Umesh Yadav with 25 runs to defend in the last over.  It was otherwise all over but for the fact that thala was at the crease.

26 needed off 6. Umesh Yadav  to bowl – 1st was pulled to deep square leg for 4; 22 off 5 – next was smashed with contempt over deep square almost into the space.  16 off 4.  Next hit over long-off, AB de Villiers jumps, ball brushes his hand but goes over.  Next was hit to deep square and Dhoni ran 2. 5th pulled into country for another 6 ~ now just 2 needed off the last ball – a single would bring the super over.  It was mid-night.  After such a brilliant innings, Dhoni could not reach out the slower one of Umesh Yadav.  Sharadul Thakar should have run half the crease, he did run fast – but failed to beat the lob of Parthiv Patel.  .. . match over CSK lost b a single run.

While Dinesh Karthik was blamed for not providing chance to  Krunal Pandya by denying that single – Dhoni too denied single to Dwayne Bravo. In the post-match conference, when asked this question, Dhoni said the nature of the surface meant it was difficult for a new batsman to the crease - Bravo had only faced three balls at that point - to start middling the big hits straightaway. Given that he himself was batting on 51 at that point, Dhoni felt he was better equipped to handle that task.

Now getting back the Michael Bevan’s prowess – he made 785 test runs and 6912 oDI runs with 3 tons and 53.58 average – 6 centuries and 46 fifties.  He made his Test debut against Pak on Oct 1994 and ODI debut against Srilanka in Apr 1994.  Impressive no doubt but his prowess of hitting helter-skelter Malcolm marshall
-       Marshall made his ODI debut in May 1980 against England and played his last match at Auckland on Mar 8, 1992. He passed away in 1999
-       Incidentally there was another by the same name - Roy Edwin Marshall (who played in four Tests from 1951 to 1952.  He was son of a wealthy plantation owner.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Apr 2019.

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