Champions League T20 2012 October 21, 2012

Mumbai, Chennai prepare to bow out


The Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings squads were sitting in a hospitality suite in the top tier of the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It is one of the best places to watch cricket in the ground but it may not have been that pleasant for them that day.

As they looked down on Lions' Jean Symes mowing the ball through mid-on for four, both sides knew that no matter what they did, the rest of their time in South Africa would be inconsequential. With that one shot, Symes took Lions into the semi-finals and knocked out three other teams, including both IPL representatives in the group.

Without much time for their elimination to sink in, Mumbai and Chennai took the field in what seemed like a daze. Faf du Plessis looked like he had been given a licence to go wild, then Lasith Malinga reined it all in. Chennai retained control though, until Dinesh Kartik began pulling away. He tugged and tugged and eventually the rope snapped and Mumbai were left holding the short end.

The contest was one of the best of the tournament. The advantage shifted throughout, audacious shots were played, extraordinary catches taken and a healthy crowd had remained in the ground to see it. But it was difficult to get excited about any of that, as it will be when Chennai play Yorkshire and Mumbai take on the Syndey Sixers in their final acts of the event.

Three of the four IPL teams will not participate in the knockouts, a surprise considering how loaded the format was in their favour. Their failure can be put down to an inability to adjust to early season South African pitches, bad weather (Mumbai and Kolkata had a rained-out encounter each) or as, Karthik said, simply being worked out by better opposition.

"We should put it down to the fact that we haven't played good cricket and that other teams have played better than us," he said. "It's been hard because we were looking pretty good in terms of batting in the one game [against Yorkshire] and then it was washed out. That's how this tournament goes. We had a great start against the Lions but it was a game we could have played better."

Karthik denied there was any other explanation for their performances, and he thought there had been enough preparation time. "All the teams were here a week before and we acclimatised," he said. "These days international cricketers travel around the world and it's the domestic cricketers who don't know a place like South Africa. The pitches are a little different to those in India but we even played practice games. They have been good wickets, and good teams could play well on them. One whole IPL was held here."

Ben Hilfenhaus, the Chennai Super Kings fast bowler, shared that sentiment. "With so many good players and so many good competitions around the world, when you get the best teams together, you've got to expect some good cricket. It doesn't matter where those teams come from," he said. "I don't think there's any extra pressure on IPL teams. It is 20-over cricket, and results don't necessarily go to the favourite team."

As defending champions and the most successful franchise in the IPL, Mumbai and Chennai were two of the fancied bunch. Now, they have nothing but self-respect to salvage, and that kept them motivated when they played each other. "Both teams have a rich tradition. We've played each 12 times and it was six wins each, so there's a bit of history there," Karthik said. "Both the teams played with a lot of spirit and a lot of energy. We didn't play thinking that it was okay if somebody loses. Both our teams came hard at it."

Whether they will have that same enthusiasm against non-IPL opposition in their final matches is doubtful. "The feeling was probably a little flat during the warm-ups," Hilfenhaus admitted after the game against Mumbai, hinting that Chennai may have some feet on the plane already.

For Karthik and Mumbai, the hope is that only remaining IPL representatives, Delhi Daredevils, can restore all of their reputations. "They are a team well suited to these conditions, and being an Indian team I would love to see them win," Karthik, who was once a Delhi Daredevil, said. "If Delhi goes on to qualify, it will be a great thing for the CLT20 because you will definitely get a lot of viewers from India watching them pretty keenly, and I will be one of them. It will be great to see Delhi do well."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • NAVEEN on October 22, 2012, 19:29 GMT

    Well, its time for Tendulkar to hang up his boots. He is a great player, but no longer his body is supporting him. He has earned enough, and I am sure that even without playing cricket he will continue to earn. Earlier this year, India lost Asia Cup at the cost of his 100th century. It was MI's turn this time. It would do him lot of good, in terms of his brand value, if he bows out on his own. My fear is that one fine day he may be dropped from the team for being a liability.

  • Mahib on October 22, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    @ spiritwithin: ppl dont hate IPL, they hate participation of 4 IPL teams in CLT20

  • Pravin on October 22, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    thats what u get for having a stupid qualifier tournament for champions and allowing losing sides to go straight into the main tournament. I am glad the IPL teams are going home (well almost all of them)

  • spirit on October 22, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    all those who r commenting how poor IPL teams r and their events forget the fact that the last two times CLT20 was won by IPL teams,also all the other leagues r also competitive for example bigbash,english league,SA league and so on which means any team can win not just IPL teams,also delhi is currently at the top of the group mainly due to indian players,kkr won its only game mainly due to contribution from indian players with many of their overseas stalwarts like kallis,lee has failed,its naive to blame IPL and its teams just for the sake of it,y dont u see the performance of Yorkshire who did'nt won a single game,or perth scorchers who r winless,does it means bigbash or english league r worthless??dont just hate IPL and mock their teams just bcoz u dont like IPL

  • Biju on October 22, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Wrong assessment - of the 3 CLT played , 2 were won by IPL teams and one of them in SA.... People are just bashing IPL teams for the sake of it...

  • Dummy4 on October 22, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    Brett Lee did not fail Contrary to Klapka saying this KKR failed because their batting failed Gautam Gambir showed why he IS NOT going to be the next Indian captain. His decisions both on the field and selection of the final eleven was ATROCIOUS. Mumbai Indian lost to Chenai because their brilliant captain decided to send in Raydu ahead of Pollard and resulted in run rate being almost impossible until Ashwin was trashed by Pollard India cricket needs a lot of work; they had reached the pinacle of their success but with exception of Virat Kholi there seems to be no new Indian cricketer who will be great. Dhoni should give up wicketkeeping and play as batsman only. I expect his runs will be even more and he would last longer, he is at present the 2nd best batsman in India (sorry but Tendulkar and Sewhag both seem to be on their way out of cricket)

  • Sankarankutty on October 22, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    @edgie: I agree that IPL teams havent played well so far and deserved the exit. But I dont agree with your theory. IPL teams have won the last two champs leagues held (including one in SA). As for the quality of Indian players and their so called inability to adjust, I would point out that Kallis and Lee both failed to live up to their reputation causing KKR's epic failure in the tournament. You wouldnt say Kallis had a problem adjusting, would you? Also the case of Delhi who are yet to lose a match in the tournament are in their position much due to the performance of Indian players. KP and mahela together have made less than 30 runs in two games. Morne has been brilliant but I would hardly place the credit to their success squarely on his efforts alone.

  • Stanton on October 22, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Cpt Meanster, the IPL teams have BOUGHT the best players, yet they cannot even win in conditions that cater for BOTH bat and ball. Purely an indication of the lack of experience of the Indian players in conditions they don't know how to play on, even the (so-called) experienced ones. And to think the CLT20 was built around those IPL teams, yet only one out of 4 are "possibly" going into the semis. Makes one wonder whether the IPL teams are even that good...

  • Sandy on October 22, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    IPL Teams are filled with mainly Indian flat track kings like Gambhir and Bisla and sehwag and Sharma, who hammer the weak Indian domestic bowlers in the IPL on flat pancake pitches and thus their true ability is kept hidden from the Indian public. And some of the runs gambhir got yesterday was against the SA C team attack, in a dead rubber. These guys were clueless last year, and now since India will not be travelling abroad for the next 1 year, they can continue plundering runs on lifeless pitches, and also IPL 2013, thus raking in the moolah, keep the ads going and receiving the adulation of a public that has an extremely short memory. THis wont change for the next 20 years,despite all the big talk from the 'experts' after every debacle, i.e sporting pitches and matting wickets etc.

  • Pratyush on October 22, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    I dont think this comes a surprise at all. IPL teams are suited to Indian low, spinning or flat tracks. Anything with a bit of bounce and they are done for good! Delhi are an exception as they have a good bowling side but even they cant bat well.

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