Dhoni fired in the crucial, CSK advanced
Chennai Super Kings may have reached the IPL Eliminator match on tiptoes but there was no ignoring the manner of its progress beyond.
At the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, in the aftermath of CSK’s resounding 38-run victory over Mumbai Indians, there was little disagreement between both camps on where the contest had turned.
Chennai had been heading for a mediocre total until M.S. Dhoni intervened, his stunning late assault (51 n.o., 20b, 6×4, 2×6) changing the complexion of the game. After hitting a 112-yard six, the longest in the IPL this season, beyond the roof of the Chinnaswamy Stadium in a more traditional manner, one can understand his apprehension over using a shot which is more flashy than percentage.
As the innings was winding down, however, the CSK skipper executed his patented shot to perfection against the bowler who delivers the most toe-crushing yorkers in the modern game – Lasith Malinga. The Sri Lankan pitched one right up in the block hole, Dhoni flicked his wrists and swivelled his arms in the follow through to send the ball over mid-wicket for a maximum.
Innovative shots such as this propelled Chennai from a slow start to a rousing finish which saw them post a competitive 187/5, after they were trudging along at 47/2 at the end of the ninth over. A total that was beyond Mumbai, who were dismissed for 149/9.
Mumbai were going along at 47/0, before their chase went haywire from the final ball of the fifth over. Sachin Tendulkar cut one to backward point, his partner Dwayne Smith took off for a quick single without realising that Ravindra Jadeja had dived full length and collected the ball. Smith almost reached the batsman’s end, but Tendulkar was still rooted to the crease, when Jadeja threw the ball to the non-striker’s end. With one of the batsmen sure to be run out, Tendulkar stepped out of his crease and sacrificed his wicket, an acknowledgement of the early fireworks provided by Smith.