May 31, 2014
Choice of game
It's not every year that Mumbai gets to host an eliminator and a qualifier, so I had decided to watch the matches irrespective of who made it.
I supported Kings XI Punjab, because they have been the surprise champion performers in this year's tournament. Nobody expected them to perform so well. Credit must go to all the team players, support staff and the management. After all these years they deserved a chance to lay their hands on the IPL trophy, or make it to the finals once.
Virender Sehwag's 122 off 58 balls was a swashbuckling innings that brought back memories of the vintage Viru, like the time he scored 293 runs in a day in a Test against Sri Lanka in Mumbai in 2009.
Two things I'd have changed about the match
I would have given Raina a life. He was carting the Kings XI bowlers across stadium and it did not seem like they could get him out. Running him out looked like the only possibility of dismissing him. If Raina had stayed at the crease, batting much longer, the match result could have been different, or at least much closer.
I would also have wanted to see MS Dhoni bat higher up the CSK batting order, ahead of Ravindra Jadeja and David Hussey, given that they were chasing a stiff target. His presence at the crease would have helped the team's cause.
Face-off I relished
Mitchell Johnson hasn't lived up to the team's expectations yet, so a magical spell was due for him. He can bounce as well as swing the ball prodigiously and it would have been interesting to see how Dwayne Smith counterattacked Johnson. Same with Glenn Maxwell versus R Ashwin and Jadeja.
However, neither of these encounters panned out. Instead, it was Sehwag v all of CSK's bowlers. Even the best bowlers look ordinary when he is batting like he did today.
Raina scored 33 off Parvinder Awana in the sixth over. At the end of the over, he was on course for the fastest century ever by any batsman in all formats of the game.
In the 18th over, Dhoni, trying to hit Johnson out of the ground and not succeeding, called for a new bat. But he was bowled off the next ball, only to find it was a no-ball!
When Chennai fielded Mohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja were near the boundary. Raina waved back to the crowd when they cheered for him. For Punjab, Maxwell was very popular with the crowd, who cheered for him whenever he came to the boundary to field.
Shots of the day
The sixes hit by Sehwag off Jadeja in the 18th over: he first slammed a length ball over long-on to bring up the team's 200, and then one ball later, flat-batted a shot to the same region.
The Wankhede Stadium was packed. The crowd seemed to be enjoying every moment of the match even though it wasn't the home team. There were supporters for Chennai and Punjab. The Mexican wave was in full flow from the beginning of the match.
The atmosphere at the Wankhede was livelier than it had been at Brabourne for the eliminator. The DJ played popular Bollywood songs. The party-like atmosphere at the stadium could be felt after the first-innings break since the crowd had been entertained by a Sehwag special.
Banner of the day
"Keep Calm and Enjoy the Maxwell Storm".
9. My experience was amazing. We got a good all-round view of the stadium from where we were seated. I think this is the best IPL match I have watched so far. There were no expectations as neutral fan. All the earlier games that I had watched at the Wankhede had been one-sided. Sehwag and Raina's innings were memorable.
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