Chennai v Victoria, CLT20 2010, Port Elizabeth September 18, 2010

An evening of loss and redemption

Emotions ebbed and flowed with the fortunes of the teams on a dramatic evening where Victoria won the battle of the nerves

David Hussey didn't want to bat in the Super Over. He also wanted Dirk Nannes to bowl the Super Over. Neither happened. His coaching staff sent him to bat and asked Clint Mckay to bowl. Hussey wondered whether it would be Muttiah Muralitharan or Doug Bollinger who would bowl that over. He hoped it would be his friend Bollinger, as he could then use the fast bowler's pace. In the end he was happy to see R Ashwin bowl. He knew Ashwin can bowl the carom-ball, the offbreak and the arm-ball; he also knew that persistent drizzle would not aid Ashwin. He just wanted to stay off strike and hoped Aaron Finch would do the demolition job.

Finch wanted to bat. It was his evening. At the end of it all, his captain Hussey would introduce him to MS Dhoni, while the three waited for the presentation ceremony. Finch just nodded as he held out his hand. He presented an interesting sight: his arms thick, his smile shy, his eyebrows bristled when he spoke. And he seems to perennially sport a crew cut, even in his old photographs. He once accumulated 73 from 261 minutes to lift Victoria out of trouble. Today, he walloped 41 from 17 deliveries to propel them towards victory. His duel with Ashwin was fascinating.

Ashwin's evening was interesting. It was bad, good and ugly. Twice Finch sucker-punched him out of the stadium. Ashwin came back with a lovely carom-ball to avenge his humiliation and it seemed apt that he took the catch himself. He even threw the ball down in anger. It seemed an outlet for his inner rage. Later, he was picked to bowl the Super Over. His captain felt he had the variations and he is used to bowling in the first six overs with the new ball under the pressure of the Powerplay. It was raining, though.

It drizzled through the chase. The ball got wet and the moist pitch meant the ball came on nicely to the bat; Hussey, Finch, and Dhoni certainly thought so. They felt it was better to bat second. However, it was with the same wet ball that Ashwin removed Finch, Murali struck twice and Suresh Raina almost won the match.

Murali, who turned the match around in his spell, rushed to Dhoni at the end of the 19th over. He pointed out to Michael Hussey, suggesting he be placed at deep midwicket where the ball was likely to be slogged. Dhoni sent Hussey there and gave the ball to Raina.

Raina had two moments where he drove the game towards that Super Over. We didn't know then. And it had nothing to do with his bowling but with his fielding. Or his misses with his throws. The first moment came when 24 runs were required from 18 deliveries; David Hussey hit the ball back to Raina, who, without turning back , flicked it towards the stumps behind him. Quiney was out of the crease but the throw missed the stumps. It was pure cheekiness. Raina even managed a grin. Fast forward to the penultimate delivery: two runs were needed. Throughout that over, Raina never bowled full. It was always back of a length. Michael Hussey waited for the tailender's slog at deep midwicket. He floated the fifth ball around the off stump back of a length. Siddle, who had hit two game-turning fours just before that to redeem his evening that had earlier threatened to end in shame after he bowled two beamers, bottom-edged his cut and rushed across. Dhoni relayed the ball to Raina who threw but again missed the stumps. The scores were leveled and Bryce McGain had to face the final delivery.

McGain had never hit a four or a six for Victoria in any format. He just needed to get one run here, though. If he had got it, he could have something to say to his 10-year old son on Skype tomorrow. He had a decent day until then; he had taken out Michael Hussey with a flighted legbreak. Now he went for the cut shot but met thin air. The game hurtled to the Super Over

Ashwin had the ball. Hussey hoped Finch would have much of the strike but he had to face the second delivery. Perhaps it was the drizzle, perhaps it was the yips, Ashwin couldn't manage a decent over. And Hussey cashed in. Finch kept looking over his shoulder to see the white ball disappear through the rain. For Ashwin, who had thrown the ball down in anger earlier on, there was no rage at the end of it all. Only sorrow. Perhaps a feeling of embarrassment too lingered. The evening ended with him holding his head. Another youngster, Finch, ended the evening holding his head high. He collected the Man-of-the-Match award and smiled. It was a fascinating evening.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 21, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    Dhoni is one of the best captain that india has produced..... it is not fair to blame dhoni for giving the super over to ashwin.... It shows the amount of confidence dhoni had on ashwin....It was dhoni's captaincy+ team work tat got back csk into that match... No one was expecting raina 2 pick up 4 wickets in that match but it was dhoni who brought in raina to bowl at the correct time of the match.... that was the turning point of the match.... It is useless to blame dhoni for losing 1 match....Hope CSK beats warriors and make it to the semi finals!!!!

  • Srinivasan on September 20, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    I believe that most of the readers here feel the same way, as I do. DHONI is such a over-hyped captain and he has got the best batsman of the entire cricket era that he has been captaining. (Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Sourav and Kumble). He has been hyped to such an extent that he is part of All Time XI. Are you kidding me? I alwats tend to laugh when Dhoni is batting and most importantly his forward defensive stroke. The guy is a pathetic captain and India won the T20 world cup, because of the time when other teams were not sure about the format and we went with young and athletic team and great performances by Yuvraj and Gambhir and bowlers. Mainly Misbah lost the match than we won. Giving the final over to Joginder is not sheer brilliance but he was running out of options as Pathan bowled brilliantly in the middle overs when Pakis running with the game.

  • Srinivasan on September 20, 2010, 19:57 GMT

    Tell me other than the T20 world cup which major tournament has India won other than tri-series which we official end up playing practice matches with Sri Lanka. The two Champions Trophy, two T20 world cups and the list goes on. The No. I Test Side that India is in is not due to Dhoni's captaincy but the hard work done by the men before hi, Sourav, Rahul and Kumble. Dhoni will take a hiding saying that Ashwin bowled rather than he captained stupidly. Finally, his persistence with R Jadeja is too pathetic, is he the only all-rounder who is present in the Country. His affection for him so huge that it keeps Irfan Pathan out of the team for so long. I would pick Irfan Pathan on any day than this guy. Dhoni needs to be given a reality check and that will not happen until you Kris Srikkanth as the chairman of selectors. Cheers!

  • kumar on September 19, 2010, 21:44 GMT

    i have confidence csk will go to semi.even they win trophy too.becoz dhoni have great captaincy skills.haha.captaincy tactics will increase by experience.but dhoni didn't learned anything from past.india wom t20 wc becoz of him.ind got 1st rank becoz of him.even sachin made 200* becoz of him.dhoni the best cap of it sounds great.this is best joke forever and ever.

  • Dummy4 on September 19, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    Right - How Many of you here think CSK can Still qualify for Semi, How many of you thinks Ashwin have got the confidence of Dhoni? Dhoni is the Most pathetic Captain in the world to get the best India Side that ever played Cricket says the least.

  • vishnu raj on September 19, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    i dont know how csk will be benefited frm a high pressure match lyk this,hw do u think they'll get better in the nxt game& against a red hot warrriors in their den..such a narrow loss would hav dented their spirits especially aswin's& aswinz a good bowler bt has little int'l experience..remember his only int'l t20 was against zimbabwe where he was smashed for over10an over..when u hav experienced internationals in the team why do u give an inexperienced youngster to handle such a high pressure situatn & spinnrs have always been detrimental in super over..pathan vs mendis,mahela & uv vs murali and now aswin..the last time csk lost a suprover they lost 4 matches in a row & it needed a special effort from vijay & doug's inclusion to lift them up..& i thought this was dhoni's first suprover in crickt..can someone clarify how dhoni has been captain in three superover situations lyk some ppl claim over here..the only time csk had a superover was when raina captained the side,plz chk ur facts

  • Anand on September 19, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    @Syed Hassan Raza Your "ICC should inquire into this" is laughable..Yes, Dhoni's decision was stupid., pathetic I would say..But lol, there is no fixing here..Get over it..But I agree with you in that the 2007 WC was lost by Misbah rather than Jogi winning it for India...

  • Shehan on September 19, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Any captain in his right mind would've chosen Raina over Balaji & Kemp for the last over given how they performed in this match and how Tailenders prefer to face bowlers of Kemp and Bala's pace. It was a stupid decision to bowl Ashwin in the superover because he's not experienced enough to bowl the S.O against a quality side like Victoria. Plus he got annihilated by Hussey and Finch in the match. Murali or Dough were the logical choices. Murali is vastly experienced & Wade played him for the 1st time yesterday & Finch has never faced him. In the match against Punjab, Mahela clobbered him for a six because mahela plays murali day in & day out. Yuvi sealed the win with a cheeky but effective reverse sweep for 4. Murali still managed to get MJ out in that S.O. There was Dough who is an international bowler of quality and 1 of CSK's 2 strike bowlers. When you've got the best bowler in the world & a quality fast bowler you don't go for Ashwin. But MSD is definitely NOT a bad captain.

  • ikram on September 19, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    The decision from the CSK staff defies logic. Ashwin got taken to the cleaners in his opening overs. Murali bowled 4 for 17. Took 2 wickets and turned match that was running away from CSK. The greatest bowler in the world against a team who hasn't played him often.How could they have sideline Murali for the super over? Go figure!

  • vishnu raj on September 19, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    @sweetspot..i'm well aware of the facts,thats why i said he z fit only for the nudges & pushes of the odi where he can take his own time & keep his average at 50 like he did in the final of the recently concluded one day series in srilanka scorin 67..can u tell me one impact innings he has played in t20s,please check his t20 international record,it shows he really struggles in this format & the first t20 world cup we won was purely because of batting class of yuvraj & gambhir and somehow all the bowlers clicked for india at that time,sadly the bowling is again in a bad state..what happened to the remaining 2 t20 world cups,why did we struggle to win even a single match in the second stage,our super 8s record is 6 losses out of 6..since the 2007 t20 world cup we have struggled in icc tournaments,hope the same doesnt happen in 2011 world cup..& dhonis win record in t20s is amazing,victories against bangladesh,ireland,afghanistan & never defeated NZ & lost all super 8s in last 2 t20WCs...

  • No featured comments at the moment.