Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians, IPL final, Kolkata

Super Kings squander their batting depth

To their detriment, Chennai Super Kings chose the IPL final to demonstrate that wickets have value, even in T20

Abhishek Purohit

May 26, 2013

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni pulls a short ball out of the ground, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Chennai Super Kings, IPL2013, Bangalore, May 18, 2013
File photo: MS Dhoni couldn't have batted at both ends, no matter how much Chennai Super Kings might have wanted him to in this innings © BCCI

Chennai Super Kings' go-slow approach often works, and is often criticised as well for being under-utilisation of a batting order that goes on and on. What is the need for Michael Hussey and Co to preserve wickets and build when you have men like Albie Morkel and Chris Morris coming in as late as Nos 8 and 9? It is Twenty20, goes the argument. There are as many as ten wickets to use, or lose, over just 20 overs. Invitation to start swinging from ball one, and never let up. There is always one hitter more to come in if you fail. No way is there enough time for such a powerful line-up to run out of batsmen, right? Wrong.

Super Kings' collective suicide in the IPL 2013 final showed that go-slow and explode is far more preferable to unrestrained bang-bang. More importantly, it also showed that even in T20, no matter how deep a side bats or how many six-hitters it has, its batsmen are far better off putting at least some price on their wickets. Or else, they risk reducing one of the greatest limited-overs batsmen ever to farming the strike with plenty of overs left and hitting defiant, but meaningless, late sixes.

MS Dhoni is often blamed for batting too low. For a man whose reputation forces even Lasith Malinga to bowl a wide outside off with an asking-rate over 27, No. 7 was definitely not the position to bat in a tournament final chase. And forget the situation and the occasion, there is no way Dhoni can bat lower than Ravindra Jadeja. But tonight, would it have mattered if Dhoni had come in at No 6 or No 5? Defensive as it was to hold himself for so late, can Dhoni be blamed for the sheer senselessness of what was happening at the other end? Dhoni couldn't have batted at both ends.

The Mumbai Indians bowlers deserved praise for making 148 look like 198, but apart from the inswinging Malinga yorker that took care of Hussey, they didn't really have to take the other wickets, rather than receiving them on a platter.

Suresh Raina has hopes of adding to his 17 Tests. His response to the first ball he faced suggests they are likely to remain just hopes for some time. Now the world and the adjoining galaxy know that Raina expects the bouncer when he comes in. It is one thing when the bowler preys on your expectations, places a short leg or deep square leg and you get out to the bluff full delivery. But it is seriously poor for someone who has been playing international cricket for eight years to meekly fend a bouncer first ball into the hands of short leg.

S Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo, Jadeja, M Vijay. All of them threw it away. Badrinath was sent in to enforce go-slow again but chased a wide delivery. Bravo's was a strange innings. He looked to be trying to desperately counter-attack every ball and still went at less than a run a ball before falling to his own desperation. Jadeja's heave second ball at 36 for 4 mocked Dhoni's decision to send the allrounder above himself. Vijay tried patience for some time, but was caught between continuing with it and playing the cool saviour. Forget 120 deliveries, it took a little over one-third of that, 45 balls, for Super Kings to squander their depth, the depth that was supposedly inexhaustible over a mere 20 overs.

Contrast this with the way Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu batted. Mumbai Indians were 52 for 4 and down to their last proper batting pair with a long tail to follow. Pollard did begin with a boundary, but it was a risk-free push down and along the ground. He defended successive carrom balls from R Ashwin. The third one was a carrom ball again, but it was fuller and slightly angled in. Pollard launched it over long-on.

He got little strike at the death and that made him livid but he confined himself to shouting and swearing and didn't let his game be affected. After being left agonising at the other end for 15 of the previous 22 deliveries, he cracked the final two balls of the innings for sixes.

It is Mumbai Indians who are usually said to get muddled with too many resources to choose from but probably the absence of any more depth in the batting gave Pollard and Rayudu no choice but to play sensibly. To their credit, they did. Probably the availability of depth in the batting made Super Kings abandon their successful policy of preserving wickets for once. To their detriment, they chose the final to showcase that wickets have value, even in T20.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by csk_sj on (May 28, 2013, 20:23 GMT)

A win in the qualifier not withstanding, MI has CSK's number. Have to live with till nxt year. Hope CSK can rebound from two losses in 2 finals.

Posted by   on (May 28, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

In IPL 2013 MI played 4 matches against CSK. They won 3. One on Home Ground. One on CSK's Home Ground. One on Neutral Venue. CSK won on a Neutral Venue. So MI clearly outplayed CSK. MSD is still India's Best Player. He should have come in at No. 5. MI bowled superbly. Jadeja was Pathetic! CSK fans are giving Stupid excuses for their teams loss to MI. Really Pathetic!

Posted by Cricfacts on (May 27, 2013, 21:13 GMT)

Really? Did Dhoni came in too late? I don't think so. He came in the 7th over at 35, not in the 15th with the score at 70. The right thing was done by sending the other guys and let them try to build a foundation. Let's say Dhoni came in at 3-3 and was dismissed before the team had 40, what would've happen then? That would've lessen CSK's chances of making 149. Not many guy in CSK can bring 60 from 30, Dhoni is one of them but most of the players in CSK are capable of building a partnership. The other guys like Bravo, Jadeja and Badrinath gave their wicket away.... Spare a thought for Badrinath though, he hardly got any chance to bat this season and in the final he was called up to anchor.

Posted by SamRoy on (May 27, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

Not a single article has been written for Malinga, who started decently in this year's IPL but then had a lot of awful matches. But cometh the final, he produced the over of the tournament in the first over of CSK innings which dented CSK confidence very heavily.

Posted by chetanphanse on (May 27, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

Dhoni is a great captain as a motivator and leader of men but he is a very poor strategist!

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

I always believed that the IPL is partially fixed (so as to make it interesting) if not entirely, the final again proved my point. Consider a tournament where just one team wins all the matches that too with huge margin and other teams' matches are either one sided or low scoring, who is gonna go watch the match? Then how the franchise and organizers will get the profit? Its all business but also big fun nevertheless.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

It was unfortunate to have CSK on the losing side, though they have creditably throught the season. But they will be told as consistent only when they have won. The total was really achievable. I don't why the batting order was changed. It is a mystery why Dhoni batted so late ? Whenever Dhoni has tinkered with his position, he ended on the losing side. It is really amusing and astonishing not to have reached the meagre score when every body tells they can bat very deep till 11. Morris has never batted like Morkel till the last match though he had ample chances. Albie has literally got chance only in this match in 16 matches. A normally hard hitter was quitened by bowlers. Still it is not clear how they have failed. Last year even after scoring 190 and above, last over hits got KKR to crossover the line. This year, though the score to reach is low, CSK could not reach. Looks like something wrong somewhere.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

This game should have been a cakewalk for CSK. Turned out to be the opposite. Just goes to show the glorious uncertainty of cricket. MI came to play; they were determined to fight for every inch; never say die and die fighting. Their batting slipped yet fought hard to recover. It wasn't a totally safe recovery; but a respectable one. Then comes CSI. They depend too much on King Dhoni and King Dhoni depends only on his own willow. He will hit the 6s and the 4s at will and save his team every time. He doesn't need anyone else. But your majesty, this is a team sport. You can't save your overpaid, over-rated chamchas every time. The MI were at their fighting best and bested what was (on paper) the best outfit. Good show MI. I would have been happier if the Rajasthan Royals had won it all. That would have been the real fairy tale and a great one too.

Posted by cricwar4184 on (May 27, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

can anybody explain what hussey said at post presentaion : Hussey: Good fun but couldn't do the business on the final-day.

Posted by thisisashish on (May 27, 2013, 13:48 GMT)

@sri1ram, MI defeated CSK 3 times in IPL6. So it isn't impossible for MI to have won even in best if 3 finals.

Posted by VrrD on (May 27, 2013, 13:41 GMT)

Jadeja's shot when the team was 36 for 4 told the whole story for CSK in the final.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

i find it strange that d entire article & comments r focussed on batting reshuffle & dhoni's strategy & no credit is given 2 superb bowling from MI. ridiculous ! all u csk fans, i appreciate dhoni, but even if he had batted up d order, he would have failed,taht's for sure. and tags like best finisher r given by few baised writers & fans who worship player rather than sport as a whole. As for d technique, champs trophy will seperate d class from chauff. good luck 2 so called best finishers[read raina & dhoni]

Posted by srinivasulu.adiraju on (May 27, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

DHONI are the best! I have to doubt now. One thing I observed is when ever batting ordered is changed too much or experimented..... you lost. I was sure DHONI(CHENNAI) will reach final again from day one and this was a subject of argument for me for last 2 months with all my colleagues. DHONI........... I ADMIRE YOU.... both for your game and strategy. But batting at 7 is too late. I was expecting you to come at 4th if not at 5th. But you came little too late. Still I didn't loose hope for cup until the last ball.

Hope you will consider you batting position little up next time and win many finals in future like you always did for us. LOVE YOU DHONI! I never doubt you ability to hit, think at crunch time, and running between wickets.

Posted by madras_boy on (May 27, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

The lions roared this season and i enjoyed it. CSK is a consistent team and no questions about it. MI would have won the trophy this year like KKR in 2012. See where KKR ended up this year ! So, lets see in IPL 2014. CSK's ethics and ground staff were brilliant. Kudos to them. Except for the drama in the last few days about betting, CSK would have won the trophy. But again, Tendulkar deserves a good sendoff and MI has given that to him for which I am happy. As a whole it was a good season for CSK and look fwd for Champions trophy.

One thing still puzzles me. Delhi police found the initial evidence of spot fixing and now Mumbai police is investigating everything and MI has won the trophy. Is that all fine ??? or spectators taken for a ride ???

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 11:17 GMT)

OK, at least for the next 1 year we will have to hear to comments against CSK. I am sure MI would have the same fate like KKR; last year champions. It is about being consistent and no matter who accepts or not .. CSK is the best consistent team. 2 times champions; 3 times runner-up. CSK does not have to prove anything to anybody.

Posted by CricketMaan on (May 27, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

Pollard drop cost the game. Ashwin has time and again proved he is not a slip catcher. Hussey should have been there to take that catch. Dhoni dropping himself down the order was also a mistake. His sheer presense at No.4 could have altered MI tactics. Whether he could have won the game from No.4 is now only a hindsight, but its could have posted an intresting challenge to MI. Poor Bardi he has been shunted up and down the order and can't balme him being tentative. Jadeja was caught up with pressure and no matter what Huss says about Raina and shortball, he will be found out in England yet again. As for MI, finally all those big purchased came good. They have been perenial loosers but seem to have finally found thier 12 to win big games. see you in Champions Trophy, provided CSK survise the turmoil. Next year who will play for whom will be intresting.

Posted by sri1ram on (May 27, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

Lots of congratulations to Mumbai Indians for pulling this one off convincingly. Had the format been a normal quarter-finals format - 1st vs 4th, 2nd vs 3rd and their winners competing in Three finals, do any of us think that MI would have made it?

Posted by Narabavi on (May 27, 2013, 9:37 GMT)

CSK mixed politics with cricket at the begining of the season. Since then they didn't deserve to win the tournament this time.

Posted by SunnyKing1008 on (May 27, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

With all due respect to all captains, A captain is as good as his team PERIOD.

Posted by cricket-is-best on (May 27, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

Great article!! let people bash !! feel pity for the csk fans!! they cant show their crying,so trying to console themselves by pointing out that it was just a 23run win!! hahaha!!! chill guys! MI always deserved more to win this ipl! csk got what they deserved!!

Posted by test_cricket_is_real_cricket on (May 27, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

i had commented on your previous match 'analysis' that CSK wins pressure playoff matches because they bat first in most... i reiterate that statement... however good a finisher dhoni might be... but CSK is always comfortable batting first rather than chasing... very much similar to mumbai... always struggle to chase... dhoni should have joined vijay much earlier but seeing the rest of the batsmen and the shots they got out to, i doubt that would have made much of a difference...

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 6:44 GMT) you are writing about CSK batting line-up....funny...!!! in this same page, i have seen lot of news about CSK's batting depth....CSK final over finisher....all specialist batsman...!!! Cool Caption....!!!.... Mr. Abhishek Purohit, before you write this news....did you think this same batting line-up achieved first place in pints table...!!!! did you think this same batting line-up have trashed MI 4 days back....!!!you are commenting a team which no one can question their ability.

really its funny....!!!!

try some other way....better luck next time.


Posted by Aspraso on (May 27, 2013, 6:14 GMT)

For those who comment that Dhoni faced too few balls -- they should ask themselves did not Pollard face too few balls. Imagine what the MI score would have been if Pollard had faced say 12-18 balls more.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

now we all start doubting jadeja. is he a novice in the batting? when wickets were falling dhoni sent badri. but he too failed. he had the craft to stem the roll.

And if again dhoni comes early and plays slow again its a blame. it would not have mattered a lot had dhoni been there at no 6. hardly it took 10 mnts for bravo to get back to pavilion in which case , jadeja would have been there anyhow and then what. how much jadeja and dhoni would have scored???

i saw even a great batsman like sunny commenting the same in the heat of mumbai victory. he is linking dhoni coming at 6 to great captaincy.

captain looks great when he wins but when loses what? there is something better in the other team as well and we need to appreciate it.

lets be honest. csk kept winning this way before and lets appreciate malinga. he did bowl well in those begining overs.

Posted by MaverickMonk on (May 27, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

Its ridiculous how people are criticising Dhoni for batting deep, He is the finest finisher the game has ever was quite evident from the way Malinga was bowling to him and the way he spanked those last few deliveries. other batsmen have to be blamed for the failure. If any one of Bravo OR JADEJA had stayed till the end, result could have been different.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

with this u cant jus say its a waste of a batting line up and it does happens once or twice in a life time and even thought CSK were reduced to 39/6 still no one told that MI is a clear winner and moreover CSK lost by jus 23 runs and its a matter of a over match and with reducing to 39/6 and winning the game by jus 23 runs is lame of MUMBAI INDIANS part

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

Nice Article. Spot on. Even I believe that Dhoni's decision to hold himself back was right in a way. But what could he have done when other batsmen didn't apply themselves at all. I hope Dhoni doesn't have to face a similar situation in the Champions Trophy.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (May 27, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

albie, morris and ashwin are all failed to make singles and give strike back to dhoni. Really dissappointed. CSK Fails more often than any other team against MI.

Posted by bored_iam on (May 27, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

Abhishek Purohit is "Captain Hindsight". One match ago, he couldn't stop lambasting the Mumbai team. now he's here again to "analyse" Chennai's performance.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 4:18 GMT)

It shows total lack of any cricketing sense to refuse to give credit for some excellent bowling by Malinga to remove the backbone of the CSK's batting, and creating pressure on the others to try and get out of the hole. All the bowlers bowled extremely well. And full credit to Pollard for his magnificent innings. The only criticism of CSKL would be that DHoni chose to come out so late. He should have come out w earlier and controlled the game as he often does and also mentor the batsmen at the other end. That was the only option which may have worked.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

Also Morkel had just lofted Ojha for 6 in that over, and the big 6 hitting left hander was going to go after the left arm orthodox spinner and get under it. Ojha tossed up a yorker, a very effective delivery. Morkel tried to get under it but definitely a wrong shot selection here. He wasnt playing on merit and was trying to smash the ball.

Id say Jadeja, Morris and Vijay would certainly have to take some amount of blame though, as by simply keeping Dhoni company, theyd have won the game.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 3:53 GMT)

I certainly agree with some points of this article, but i do think the MI bowlers earned a few more of those wickets besides Hussey.

I often find too much of the judgement of the shot or ball is dependent on the result.

Yes Suresh Raina has issues with the short ball, but let me assure you no batsman likes em around the ribs up at 140+ kph from Malinga. After seeing his mate get cleaned up by a Malinga yorker, and with a low total to chase, he mightve been expecting the same, but he got a very fast short ball first up. The shot selection was correct, but he was not set at ball 1.

Badrinath blocked a couple from Johnson that were dead straight. The bowler resorted to the classic strategy, get the batsman playing away from his body. This is a way to take wickets in all formats.

Bravo and Ashwin got out much the same way as Rohit Sharma, the ball stopping on them a bit. Bravo was looking good playing his risky cricket and got praised for some of his shots as they went for boundaries

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 3:34 GMT)

Pathetic csk went hari kiri and committed suicide to gift wrap IPL 2013 to Mumbai..

Posted by sramesh_74 on (May 27, 2013, 2:50 GMT)

It was important for Dhoni to seize the initiative while chasing. It was very strange to see him come in at 7...unbelievable...

Posted by Vishal_07 on (May 27, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

All fuzz no kick, Mr. Purohit?

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

Too much complacency, too much attitude by CSK. Dhoni cant bail the side out everytime. This was their second meltdown this season against MI and they didnt learmn their lesson.

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Tournament Results
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Mum Indians won by 23 runs
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