IPL 4: Mission Rank One Accomplished




IPL 4

IPL 4

Laxmipathi Balaji could not have been more beaten when Ambati Rayudu’s last ball six at the Eden Gardens. This strike showed how one delivery, one over can determine the difference between defeat and victory in T20.

Defending champion Chennai Super Kings will be banking to ride on one such inspired moment in the DLF IPL 4 playoff against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

A high-stakes contest on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium for the rank one on the tables ended with a good show. A minor setback to Destiny’s second child and CSK captain MS Dhoni, who thrives on such situations better demonstrated when he took charge of India’s chase in the World Cup final here.

A different format and different set of skills does not alter the challenges in his path, but the biggest obstacle of the day came in form of an imposing Chris Gayle. The West Indian is mobile disaster with a thick envelope of confidence going into the playoffs, battering bowlers using reach and power. Presently he is the Orange Cap holder with maximum runs (511 runs) and maximum sixes (38). But the tornado can be tamed, as Kings XI Punjab bowler Ryan Harris showed by dismissing Gayle for a duck on the seventh ball at Dharamsala.

Gayle is a risk-taker and he will clear the shorter boundaries easily.

The best part about RCB is that, even if Gayle fails, still remains formidable. De Villiers, Virat Kohli root the batting, Zaheer Khan, captain Daniel Vettori, Sreenath Aravind and Charl Langeveldt perform well for their bowling. Zaheer and Vettori are back in form after a short while.

Now that Gayle is mostly firing away at the top, this allowed the batsmen to chase down stiff targets with contemptuous ease. Kohli’s secret skill of building partnerships and pacing the innings is becoming more public.

CSK’s outlook is aimed at continuity and consolidation under Dhoni and so far they have proved their credibility in every department. If any team deserves to be called a good performing team because of the talent then it truly goes to Chennai only. The presence of a perfectly balanced team and a good leader with a reputed knack of the game makes them totally deserving. The champions look set to explode in the playoffs.

Coach Stephen Fleming works quietly in the background, putting the pieces together. Subramaniam Badrinath is pushed up whenever the things get tough. He is credited with five half-centuries this year and is one of the players Dhoni depend on blindly. Suresh Raina, Ashwin, Albie Morkel, Doug Bollinger, Michael Hussey, Dwayne Bravo are internationals gifted with the capability to create a moment of magic — a catch or a run-out, a boundary or wicket at a critical time is all it takes the Chennai Super Kings captain to master the endgame.

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