Chennai Super Kings v Trinidad & Tobago, CLT20, Chennai October 2, 2011

Coordinated moans and the chopper lands

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the CLT20 match between Chennai Super Kings and Trinidad & Tobago

The coordinated moans
In the sixth over of the game, Dwayne Bravo aimed a full offcutter at Lendl Simmons' pads as he backed away. Simmons could not get much bat on it, and only managed to slice it away close to the stumps on the off side. He was thinking of a cheeky single, but realised, to his horror, that the ball had turned in sharply after bouncing and rolled close to his stumps. It missed the target by a few inches, and Simmons sighed in relief even as Bravo and the rest of Chepauk ooh-ed and aah-ed in unison. The crowd repeated the dose, in more choreographed synchrony, when MS Dhoni missed an under-arm throw that would have caught Sherwin Ganga short of the crease.

The dive for cover
In Dwayne Bravo's third over, Adrian Barath was on the move when he tried to guide a ball to third man, but could only bottom-edge it to Dhoni's right. Dhoni aimed his throw at the striker's end even as Barath turned back. He had gone so far, though, that he decided to dive into his crease to ensure he would be in. And just as well; Dhoni's throw was so wild, it would have hit Barath halfway up if he had been on his feet. The throw was also wide, forcing Dwayne Bravo to dive full-length to his right to stop it from running away for overthrows.

The don't-try-this-at-home stroke
Kevon Cooper provided a glimpse of his inventive stroke-play in the game against Mumbai Indians, but today he outdid himself. In the final over of the T&T innings, he walked across his stumps even as he leaned forward, and crouched low to ramp a low full toss from Doug Bollinger over short fine-leg. He could not overcome the laws of gravity, though, and tumbled onto his back even as he watched the ball going to the boundary.

The slower ball
Cooper had more unconventional fare in store when he came on to bowl. In the 12th over, he delivered a slower ball that could at best be defined as an offcutter, but technically was a backspinner delivered from the back of the hand. The ball stopped so suddenly and bounced on Dhoni that it hit his bat on the handle and popped up alarmingly into the covers. It landed safely, and Dhoni responded with a befuddled look at the pitch and the bowler.

The chopper landing
With the required-rate mounting out of reach, the pressure was on Dwayne Bravo and Dhoni to invent boundaries on a difficult pitch. Bravo responded with two fours off Sherwin Ganga before handing the strike to Dhoni, but the captain wasn't able to drive home the advantage. He hit the fourth ball of the over straight to cover, and left a ball outside off that was just inside the tramlines. But it was the sixth ball that underlined his struggle: Ganga fired it into the blockhole, Dhoni deftly stepped back and brought the bat down rapidly to generate leverage. He timed the helicopter shot well, and hit it hard into the turf, but Ganga coolly leapt up in his followthrough to haul it down. Dhoni's most famous weapon had let him down for once, and his listless innings came to an end off the next ball he faced.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kapil on October 3, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    T&T has done it to Chennai what they normally do it to their oppositions.. it worked a lot earlier but I dont see Chennai winning any more tournaments in future as they have become predictable in terms of their bowling.. And Hussey needs to click if they are to win..which cannot happen every time.. Think they need to replace Vijay although Badri deserves another chance or two and should move up the order...

  • Shantanu on October 3, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    CSK is perhaps the only side in this competition which is playing with 10 international players. So it is hard to understand their losses. I think they would have liked to restrict T&T to 10-15 runs lesser but again a lower order batsman whacked them. I dont think Dhoni read the match situation and pitch conditions well. He shouldnt come so low down and that is why he struggled. If he had come at 4 he would have got his eye in to score more freely. CSK are almost out and that I dont think reflects well on their team management.

  • Johnathon on October 3, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    Great article... love the way the author described Dhoni's struggle and the helicopter shot in the last part of the article. Very well written. Dhoni has been overrated since he won India the 07 T20 WC. His team given to him has been outstanding, but captaincy alone has been very strange. His team has been unbelievably strong in recent times, but people mistake a strong team for his "captaincy" skills. His great luck gave the team many successes and ultimately him successes as a captain. Finally his luck well has gone dry and hopefully (if the BCCI is smart enough), they will replace him with a more competent captain like Virat Kohli.

  • Dinesh on October 3, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    Mr.Dhoni .. Chennai lost 2 matched bcoz of your so called sore hands and tired body. You are not an player to consume 22 balls for jst 7 runs. Looking for money you are going to loose your fans hope. Get some off from this CLT20. This will surely have an impact on England's tour

  • Harish on October 3, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    I was thinking why Chennai is playing sub-standard cricket after their great show all 3 years of IPL and the last year CL T20. But the games here are fixed and the organizers (who else, the BCCI) wants Mumbai to win the CL T20 this time around. And Dhoni, please you and Raina go get some rest. He is an over worked player. And CSK has started to be like the Indian team. But the difference is India got humiliated in England, far away from home but CSK is getting beaten at home. The lion's den.

    @Kanth Markala - Even Hussey too didn't shine yesterday. And the failure is only because of Dhoni's innings. We all know about others. Had Dhoni got 10 more runs, it would have been better.

  • abhimanyu on October 3, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    to all CSK fans Its known to all that CSK is the favourite child of the IPL & they get all the perks whether be it pitches,auction etc...Dhoni is far from the batter he is reputed to be & yesterdays struggle is nothing new.CSK had a pathetic away record in IPL 3,chennai is their fortress (never mind the low slow pitches ,how else wuld CSK win!!!). All in all those glory days are over for CSK. Wish hussey wuld play for a more deserving team.

  • Ram on October 3, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    Now is a good time for Darren Ganga to initiate a measured transition to retirement and allow the TTCB brains trust to develop a new team to compete in the 2012 CLT20 championship. TnT's team is generally good and with time and better competition, younger players like Bravo, Bharath, Narine, Cooper will improve markedly. The captain, however, is now on the down-slope with weak batting and irrational on-field decision-making and exuberance. For the good of TnT cricket, Mr. Ganga needs to move on in a generous and orderly manner.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    TnT deserved this win.... they bowled great, fielded well.... and their turn at the crease they made enough runs and dealt with in my mind a horrible pitch. As a Trinbagonian, i was glad with the result, for one my team won, and Dwayne Bravo had a great game though he was on the opposite side..... this said i still wish that he and Pollard were playing for us. Interesting as well I just wanted to point out here is that the two top teams from IPL 2011 are sitting bottom in the two groups....

  • Vijaya on October 3, 2011, 2:11 GMT

    Even though I'm a Chennaite and a CSK fan, I felt very very irritated to see Dhoni's batting. It was a perfect demo of how "not to bat".

  • Zak on October 3, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    Darren Ganga is an inspirational and innovative captain. But in the first two games he forgot the basics at the death - if the batsmen is not scared of losing his wicket he will go for broke. The strategy of bowling wide of off stump was crap. Even in T20 cricket the batsmen are afraid of getting out. If that fear is taken away they are free to take a swipe at every ball.

    You can still bowl wide of off stump, but don't be stupid enough to telegraph it before the over!

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