April 28, 2008
Chennai, go back
Fear of the dark
Just after seven o'clock, the players were warming up when the lights went out and the laser show started. Most of them just stood around looking rather helpless. This is supposed to be a cricket league, but entertainment clearly comes first.
A day after Mohali triumphed over Delhi in the battle for northern pride, it was the south's turn. Quite a few Chennai Super Kings' fans were present at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and their bright yellow shirts and cheers were in evidence as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Michael Hussey went berserk in the final stages of the innings. After dinner, with the Bangalore Royal Challengers making a good fist of the chase, the locals discovered their voices, with chants of "Chennai, go back" greeting every big hit.
And the band played on
Suresh Raina is one of India's special talents, and he showed it again with a superb little cameo. One six down the ground was struck so cleanly that it bounced on to the elevated stage where the band had played earlier. Music to the [Chennai] supporters' ears.
Umpiring's a dangerous job
When Michael Hussey propelled one down the ground at blistering pace, Billy Doctrove had next to no time to react. The ball struck him on the shoulder, and almost certainly saved Bangalore four runs. Good thing the game wasn't that close.
Pace like fire
Quick bowlers are certainly hit and miss in this form of the game, and bowling them at the end of an innings is always laced with risk. Dale Steyn had conceded just 16 in his first three overs, but when Dhoni started to tee off, he had no answer. Even yorkers were smashed away with a bat-swing that resembles a whiplash. The over cost Bangalore 24 runs, and perhaps the match.
Despair to ecstasy
Against the Mumbai Indians, Palani Amarnath conceded 57 in his four overs, the most expensive spell in the IPL's short history. When Wasim Jaffer was dropped by Manpreet Gony off the first ball he bowled today, the man named after a temple town in Tamil Nadu where people usually get their heads tonsured must have felt like tearing his hair out. Two wickets later, the follicles were a bit safer.
When Jaffer clubbed Albie Morkel over midwicket for six, there were more than a few gasps of disbelief. That turned to joy when he flicked one effortlessly over fine leg for six more. For a man with no great pedigree even in the ODI arena, a 33-ball 50 was some effort.
Much ado about drumming
After Chennai clinched victory, Sivamani, the drummer rushed on to the field, drum-kit in tow. As officials and police tried to stop him, Dhoni intervened on his behalf. A few triumphant beats of the drums later, Sivamani was done. Both the drums, and Bangalore, were beaten into submission.