Chennai Super Kings v Wayamba, CLT20 2010, Centurion September 15, 2010

Chennai play it like champions do

While Chennai were steamrolling their opponents, there was a definite sense in the stadium that a small part of history was being witnessed

If Tiger Woods wins a 15th championship, Roger Federer scoops his 17th Grand Slam or Real Madrid storm to a 32nd La Liga title, we're unlikely to be flabbergasted. Even if it comes at a time when their Midas-like touches appear to be being eroded by younger, sexier competition, we won't be totally surprised. The truth is that all three of those are cemented in our minds as champions, deities and heroes and sooner or later we expect that they'll do something godly to reassure us that they still deserve to be thought of as such.

IPL teams do not have that status yet. How can they? The IPL is only three seasons old and besides the number of dissidents who refuse to associate themselves with it, even real fans have no clue who will establish themselves as the perennial team to beat. Each season yielded a different winner while the same teams haven't been consistently better than others in all three years.

That's not to say the IPL deserves all the scorn it's getting. In time, traditional rivalries will build, so too will traditional powerhouses. The Chennai Super Kings may have laid the first brick in that construction's name when they comprehensively walloped Wayamba in Centurion on Wednesday night.

They beat the team from Sri Lanka by 97 runs, a margin of victory that has not been achieved in the tournament before. Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina put on 137 for the second wicket, the highest in the Champions League's short history. That helped Chennai reach 200 for three, the highest score in this year's competition so far. R Ashwin captured four for 18, the best bowling figures of this year's tournament to date and the win makes Chennai the first IPL team to register two consecutive wins in the CLT20.

Everything about Chennai on the night screamed, "We are champions." Their aggressive intent with the bat, their killer instinct with the ball and their error-free demonstration in the field was all the stuff of conquerors. They even have an Americanised, spelling-bee cheerleading jingle, which was just about the only music one could hear in the stadium to accompany their antics. It goes like this: S-U-PER, K-I-NGS, in a high pitched voice so ditzy you can hear the blonde in it.

Irritating or not, that song is what is going to stick in the minds of people who watched Wayamba whittled and that song is how they will identify with and remember Chennai. And that is what real champions do. They break records, they set new ones, they lay claim to statistics, facts, trivia and even music that can be associated with them alone.

Chennai were pioneers in two ways before this match even began: Matthew Hayden was the first to wield the Mongoose bat in this year's IPL and Muttiah Muralitharan is the only man who can wear the number 800 on his shirt with it having real meaning. Both were given their fair share of crowd attention. It's those details that create links between players and supporters and build traditions. The strongest tie to the fans tonight lay with another player - a favourite son of SuperSport Park - Albie Morkel. The most rousing of welcomes was saved for him. Fond applause followed him as he batted and passionate cheering when he bowled. As luck would have it, the home boy took the first two wickets, swaying any straying member of the audience to throw their weight behind Chennai.

There was a definite sense in the stadium that a small part of history was being witnessed, marking the start of something special. When Wayamba were reduced to 35 for 6, the restlessness rode through the air. It's not that people wanted to go home, they wanted to see more records being smashed. Chennai were in the position to bowl Wayamba out for the lowest total any team has been dismissed for in the Champions League. The Cape Cobras hold that ignominy after they were ousted for 84 in last year's tournament.

It was a chance missed by Chennai as they loosened their grip slightly. Nonetheless, they still bowled Wayamba out for 103 and previously Central Districts for 94 - the lowest scores this edition. Those are figures that will be remembered and talked about for some time. They could be among the figures that feature on a page in the history book that's just begun to be written.

Firdose Moonda is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muthuvel on September 17, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    albie and bolinger are critical for chenni both have to be retained in this years auction.

  • Dummy4 on September 16, 2010, 20:31 GMT

    CSK rocks.... and they vlb clt20 champs

  • Dummy4 on September 16, 2010, 14:20 GMT

    I suggest Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to give a chance to Hussey as a opener in place of Hayden,that will show the capability of full team strength. And nevertheless hussey show who he is in this kind of format in cricket.

  • naresh on September 16, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    Congratulations CSK...go ahead with the same feeling....i really don't understand that some guys speaking about CSK that they didn't meet the tougher oppenents yet...they have beaten the CHAMPIONS of the respective team can be simply become CHAMPION...if wayamba is a weak, how come they r the champions for Sril Lanka and how come Central Districts CHAMP in their country....just think folks....and if i am a head of the CSK management, i will go at any cost to retain this team....all the credit should be given to DHONI who is a marvellous CAPTAIN and so COOL in the field...i had never seen a captain so cool in the field even their mates made mistakes....he leads the team having most of the underrated players...thats not easy....GO AHEAD GUYS...ALL THE BEST FOR UR FUTURE MATCHES....

  • Dummy4 on September 16, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    Great to see the IPL's best team doing well in Champion's League. Champion League started in 2009 else, Chennai would have been in CL in 2008 too to make it TWO.

    Heartening to see Local boys doing good...Vijay, Badri, Ashwin, Srikanth, Balaji....Kallakunga Pasangala...Whenever the local talent join hands with big names, it will be winning combination. Its been the story in all IPL. Both CSK and MI proved it in IPL3.

    Having said all, Bowling is the area which CSK needs to focus on...No team can win only with Batting. Example, Mumbai Indians. Batted well in both the games, scoring almost 9 runs an over still the managed to be in loosing side...Primary reason, Bowling. They didn't bowl well. Zaks failure is a surprise, whereas Bhajji needs to go back to Ranji.

    Bollinger is the find for Chennai and his inclusion in IPL3 + Magic show by Ashwin helped Dhoni to scale up and win the cup. Can they replicate it again? Wishing them for the same.

  • sidharth on September 16, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    hope that someday these overhyped overrated our player will play for our country n not for money to win matches

  • Priyank on September 16, 2010, 11:20 GMT

    In the first match against Central District, I just loved the way Badrinath and Srikanth batted. They knew that the CD bowlers were going to bowl short-balls to them, both took first their time and when got settled went for big shots even on short-deliveries, and played them very well for 6s and 4s. And in this match, Raina and Vijay came into the party. Bowlers as usual are bowling well. Everyone is contributing except Hayden. May be, we won't see him in the next match.

  • Priyank on September 16, 2010, 11:12 GMT

    @ Dastgeer Ali .. I had noticed it. And I was sure that someone would raise this issue here and he would be a Pakistani (Not sure if you are). Well when his foot was in air it looked as if it was going to be a big no ball but when it landed it was NOT much ahead of the crease. But the problem here is not bowling no-balls, it is your mentality. You think that the whole world has sword to kill Pakistan. I've listened to the interviews of many Ex-Pakistani players/Cricket experts, they have silently accepted that 'fixing' has been an integral part of Pakistan Cricket. Veena Malik has given proofs to ICC against Asif. And remember what Yasir Hameed had said ?(in another sting operation executed by NOTW). All these things matter. And don't worry, if your players are innocent (although it doesn't look like) they will be playing for Pak again and strong action will be taken against that newspaper. Wait and Watch !

  • thiru on September 16, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    Am just going to ignore redneck's comments :) All know he is bragging abt Aussies strong domestic structure by underselling it.

    Whatever the result of CLT20, CSK has proved to be the most consistent team in IPL and the most balanced in terms of Gameplay and attitude. RCB and MI look too over confident and too haughty like the Aussies were "when on top".

    CSK always fights its way silently thru all issues like player inavailability due to injuries, loss of form etc as a Team. Never cribs ! CSK's main power is the Team spirit, support and camaraderie. For CSK never relied on 1 player. Badri, Anirudh, Ashwin, Bolnger, dhoni all did it when mattered.

    Agreed CSK will lose many players in IPL4 but where CSK will be above all other teams is in work ethic ,discipline and hard work. I hope the mgmt is able to do it again for the new teams.

    I guess RCB, MI, DD stand to lose more than CSK due to their heavy reliance on Overseas players. Nannes will be the price scalp.

    Hope it retains 7-8.

  • Sanjay on September 16, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    @redneck, Its surprising that u judge the quality of other teams or players on the premises of a T20 competion.Hell India had won the t20 world cup with some average and some below average players (Y.Pathan, Joginder sharma). T20 is just a lottery. If u really want to judge a quality of a player watch a test match. The aussies certainly did dominate for the last 15 yrs or so.And your barb at sachin is incorporeal...

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