Dominant Chennai seal title
Chennai Super Kings 132 for 2 (Vijay 58, Hussey 51*) beat Warriors 128 (Murali 3-16, Ashwin 2-16) by 8 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It was a reverse sweep that changed the entire complexion of the game. Davy Jacobs had started off imperiously and catapulted Warriors to 45 in the sixth over. Then R Ashwin got one to turn quickly towards the leg stump, Jacobs went for the reverse sweep, but was trapped in front. It's a shot that he had successfully played in the previous game; the adventurous unorthodox spirit is his calling card, and he has reaped much success with that approach. But tonight it hurt his team. This can be a cruel game, sometimes.
After Jacobs fell, Muttiah Muralitharan suffocated the Warriors with his skill, and L Balaji maintained the pressure with a disciplined spell in the middle, keeping the Warriors to 128, which was never going to be enough. And it wasn't. This is the last time this group of players will turn out for Chennai, and they gave themselves a nice farewell present.
Warriors' Achilles heel is their lower order. Johan Botha bats at no 6; the batting isn't that deep. And so, the middle-order chose caution over valour and Chennai closed in. L Balaji, who grew in confidence with the Warriors' non-violent approach against him, slipped in a few quiet overs with his steady line and length stuff. Ashwin continued to tease them with his variations and Muttiah Muralitharan came on in the 10th over to harass them with his ability.
He kept his doosras to a minimum, and ripped offbreaks across at varying pace. Success came in the 14th over: Mark Boucher, who has fallen most to Muralitharan than any other bowler in his career, was bowled, and Justin Kreusch was beaten by the dip and flicked straight to midwicket.
There was a brief little moment in the 17th over when things stirred at the bull ring. "Fast cars and big shots, that's Craig Thyssen," Jacobs had said earlier in the week. Tonight Thyssen went after Balaji to pick up three boundaries - a pulled four, a delicate late steer and a muscled six over midwicket. The home supporters in the crowd started to find their voice: They chanted out "Let's go Warriors" and tried to inspire the local team but Thyssen's cameo was too late and too little to matter in the bigger scheme of things. In hindsight, Ashwell Prince's fall - he was bowled missing a slog against a full toss from Doug Bollinger- also proved critical as there was too much pressure on the middle-order.
The only chance for Warriors after that effort was take early wickets. They didn't. M Vijay and Michael Hussey shut them out of the contest with assured knocks. Both play spin well. Vijay used his feet to repeatedly drive inside out while Hussey, as ever, worked the angles. There was a brief moment at the end when Vijay and Suresh Raina fell in quick succession and you wondered, 'Hold on, do we have a twist here?' The equation jumped from a comfortable 26 from 31 deliveries to 13 from 12. However, Hussey and Dhoni calmly escorted Chennai home. A score of 128 wasn't enough to test Chennai. Jacobs' wicket was the key.
Half-way through the evening, Jacobs' blitz at the start already seemed a distant memory. As ever, he had moved around on his nimble feet and ripped shots with slaughterhouse finality. He smashed Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel to all parts of the ground. There were his usual shuffle-and-smash shots, but there were also some skillful upper cuts and neat cover drives. Things looked so bright for Jacobs and his team in the sixth over but the lights went out very quickly.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo