Deccan v Chennai, IPL 2010, 2nd semi-final, Mumbai April 22, 2010

Chennai play all the right cards

Cricinfo staff
It says much about the IPL's competitive nature that a team that finished with a 50% record is now contesting the final against the runaway leaders
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In the Twenty20 format, teams can't afford to be predictable. Yesterday's innovation can be today's recipe for disaster. But ahead of Sunday's final, both teams are likely to spend a fair bit of time pondering the Chennai Super Kings' new-ball combination. Doug Bollinger and R Ashwin were tremendous in the semi-final, and have forged the most unlikely of alliances over the past five games. Chennai have won three of those, and the losses were more a result of shoddy batting than any slip-ups from the bowlers.

"We've done well, haven't we?" said Bollinger after the four-wicket haul that got him Man-on-the-Match honours and guaranteed that the most consistent team over the three years of competition would get a shot at Champions League Twenty20 glory. If they do go on to take the trophy, Chennai - who were 2-5 and sinking at one stage - should be grateful for the injuries to Andrew Flintoff and Jacob Oram that sent the scouts looking for a pace bowler of genuine quality.

In seven games, Bollinger has 11 wickets, and Thursday's game was the perfect opportunity to settle scores with the Deccan Chargers, who had taken 31 off three wicketless overs when the two teams met in Nagpur earlier this month. It was also a chance to get the Dharamsala game out of his system. There, for whatever reason, MS Dhoni broke up the pace-spin new-ball combo and made Bollinger bowl in tandem with Sudeep Tyagi, who had been hideously expensive all season. Tyagi was predictably slaughtered, Bollinger went for 39 in his four and it took some Dhoni heroics with the bat to salvage Chennai's campaign.

On Thursday, Tyagi was not to be seen, and nor were the other new-ball exponents who have hardly distinguished themselves. Ashwin, who had taken 2 for 13 against Deccan in an earlier game, was restored to new-ball duty and between them, he and Bollinger finished with 5 for 27.

On Sunday, the two might have to contend with Sachin Tendulkar, injured hand and all. In Chennai in early April, dehydration took him off the field and transformed Mumbai's run chase. Such oppressive weather won't be an ally in Mumbai, and the duo will have to think up ways to combat a batsman who has mastered the format despite not playing it internationally.

Chennai loaded the side with spinners for the semi-final, and on a sluggish pitch it paid off. Given their depressingly mediocre pace resources, a similar strategy could be employed for the final. Despite the concern over the decline in Matthew Hayden's output, the lack of impact from Michael Hussey and Justin Kemp should mean that he keeps his place.

As for Deccan, after their five-game winning run, this was a depressing way to surrender the title. They will look back on two ordinary overs from RP Singh and Ryan Harris that took the score from 116 to 142, and also to the extremely timid start to their own innings.

T Suman and Rohit Sharma, who had been such impressive foils for Andrew Symonds in the middle order, both failed and Adam Gilchrist's failure to reprise his remarkable semi-final innings of a year ago was crucial as well. Given how little he contributed with the bat over the final month, it was quite an achievement to even make the final four.

Dhoni and Chennai can dream of bigger things than third place, and it says much about the competitive nature of the league that a team that finished with a 50% record is now contesting the final against the runaway leaders. On paper, Mumbai should walk it, but if the pitch is slow, Chennai's spin phalanx and Bollinger could well silence a raucous home crowd.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ganymide on April 24, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    For next year Gilchrist should revamp entire team, and they can't rely on Monish mishra, Anirudh (ofcourse he played nice today), Suman, RP Singh, Jaskaran singh, Gibbs. So they should find some experienced Ranji proven talent and atleast it'll give consistency rather than this type of flash on pan performance. Look at un proven talent in Rajastan Royals and look at proven talent in Mumbain indians indian talent, you can see difference. Rohit always playing like a dream in all 3 IPL's, but this IPL may gives nightmares, he played his poor shots when team really needs in Semis. Ofcourse Gilchrist is a complete failure, he almost become a Non playing captain to DC, just like in Davis cup tennis tournaments.

  • ganymide on April 24, 2010, 15:52 GMT

    May be greatest come back of all time in IPL, but last defeat and ongoing 40 for 5 wickets with B'lore team i felt really disgusted about DC's performance is very poor and they don't deserve to be in Semi's and forget about Final. When the accusations are ruling the roost in indian politics and media news, DC performed very reckless and poor performance when the team needs must win match against Chennai. This is really bad. If DC lost by thrilling few wickets or few runs nobody bothers but their body language telling, they're not prepared to win against Chennai sends heartburn to DC fans. Very bad performance of Rohit sharma in Semis by giving away wicket with poor shot and also Suman, Symonds (when he almost brings to hope of win)

  • Venkat4Cric on April 24, 2010, 9:40 GMT

    Fantastic cricket by CSK. The author feels RP Singh and Ryan Harris bowled ordinary overs. But thats how 20-20 cricket is either you can say ordinary overs or fine (slog) batting. Had deccan won, these overs are never discussed.140 looked a meagre target but DC batted poor and chennai's fine display of bowling and fielding discipline. Everytime Hayden fails, the hope that he would spit fire and ash in the next match lurks around and thats what keeps him in the team. I am sure he wil be there in the team for finals too. His presence in the team does create panic in the opposition since when he gets going the opponent sees defeat straightaway. Vijay played well but i think should concentrate more to not play such loose shots and get out cheaply.Badrinath showed dedication and Anirudha played well to get a decent score. Overall CSK managed well to score a winning total. I believed the score was sufficient with stingy bowlers in Ash,bolly,murali.Jakati was the vulnerable but did well.

  • psychicsaint on April 24, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    to all those jealous DC, KKR, KXIP fans who are cribbing that CSK is inconsistent and lucky to be in the final.... don't forget that CSK is the only team to have made it to the semis of all three IPL editions and twice to the final... luck cannot favor an inconsistent team so much... there is no doubt that Chennai boys rise up to the occasion and perform well when it matters most and they have the best captain to lead them with a cool head when it comes to pressure situations... MI cannot take CSK for granted although they have a great batting and bowling line up... and CSK won't die so easily... for the die hard cricket fan it would be another nail biting thriller to watch and the team that performs better on the day will win... good luck to both teams...

  • dummy4fb on April 24, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    i hopw csk will win. hayden smash quick 50

  • manasvi_lingam on April 23, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Anirudha should bat up the order and open: Hayden should make way for Hussey/Kemp depending on the nature of the pitch. Similarly, Tyagi/Balaji deserve a look-in ahead of Jakati who did not do well at all.

  • Vilander on April 23, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    King Hayden is going to destroy MI come sunday.

  • dummy4fb on April 23, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    This is a man with golden arm, keep it up Bollinger. His pace, line and length suits our Indian soil and atmospheric conditions. He made the best use of the local conditions and his mixing of deliveries from slow to medium and off and in swing. Keep it up Bollinger...you are ball in jer(k) to most of the batsmen. hahahaha...

  • knowledge_eater on April 23, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    This Dug the Rug is going to be trouble in WC, he was trouble when India Played Aus. Where do this Oz bowlers come from !!! His hair were enough distraction than his accurate line and bounce from good length. hahaha joke just joke. I thought Badri deserved MOM, if it wasn't for him CSK wouldn't have batted for 20 overs. Deccan choked big time. No one was comfortably timing the ball constantly. Neither CSK nor DC. See people, now what can happen if they make bowler friendly pitches. Now, don't write off DC, by saying that they don't deserve to be here. MI will win if they play on similar pitch like this, if it is batsman friendly CSK have chance to win this. In bowler friendly pitch against Red hot Bhajji, Malinga, Zak, Polly and now Fernando, what option CSK have Ashwin and Duggy (the most consistent one) its not going to be easy. CSK batsman have better chance pulling off, than their bowlers. Good Luck, may the best team on that will win.

  • Philly.rocks on April 23, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    Mumbai should make it real easy considering the sloppy batting of Chennai repeatedly. Mumbai's bowling line up is the best in this IPL: Malinga, Zaheer, Farnando, Bhajji and Polard. I am not saying CSK is out of consideration but their problem is nobody knows when their star batting line up will fire. In this spot MI's domestic performers like Tiwary and Rydu are better than CSK's international performers Hayden and Raina. Provided that both teams plays according to their strength we can expect an eye catching nail bitter in final. Glory to cricket!

    @Leevs Bollinger: Anybody watching IPL from Australia would be wondering why Doug Bollinger was overlooked from world T20 squad and a half fit Lee is there who lost his sharpness and skill for quite a while now. Just compare the performances of Lee and Bollinger in this IPL.

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