When a team wins seven matches in a row, there is a bound to be a high level of confidence in that side. However, there is also a possibility of that bunch getting overconfident since things seem to be so easy for them. This is exactly what happened to Chennai Super Kings’ batsmen on Sunday during their high-profile clash against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. Chasing a modest total, they kept losing wickets playing unnecessarily arrogant shots and, in the end, were nowhere near the target set by the hosts.
Right from the first over of the chase, Chennai batted as if they were chasing a massive score, which was far from the case. In fact, in an eerie start, Michael Hussey kept cutting the ball from Mitchell Johnson and Kieron Pollard kept dropping it. It was something unprecedented in cricket. At first it seemed that this was again going to be Hussey’s day out, but as things panned out, the story was completely different. Hussey did not look fluent after the erratic start, and his innings set the trend for Chennai, which saw the others struggling as well.
Most of Chennai’s wickets fell to extremely poor shots. Murali Vijay dragged one on from Johnson, Suresh Raina swiped across the line to be caught, again off Johnson, while Subramaniam Badrinath was plain and simply beaten for swing by the left arm-pacer. And when Dwayne Bravo played another poor shot to fall cheaply as well, the match was well and truly over for Chennai. The only faint hope Chennai had was in the form of a partnership between MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja. But, it wasn’t to be as the skipper sent in R. Ashwin ahead of himself and Jadeja. On another day, the ploy could have worked, but on a spooky Sunday, it was bound to backfire.
Mumbai went on to win the match by quite a big margin, but they weren’t actually exceptional with the ball. The defeat had more to do with Chennai’s unwillingness to hang in with the bat. Johnson benefited the most courtesy the three bad strokes dished out by Chennai’s batsmen. As for the rest of the batsmen, the pressure was too much for them to handle, even for the likes of Dhoni and Jadeja. On the other hand, what Mumbai did very well was take full advantage of Chennai’s loose play. Apart from Johnson, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga, all made sure that Chennai remained on the backfoot.
In the wake of Chennai’s collapse, Mumbai’s total proved to be a highly challenging one. There were contributions all around, with Dwayne Smith and Dinesh Karthik making 20’s, but the most significant damage was inflicted by skipper Rohit Sharma and, above all, Harbhajan Singh. While Sharma held the innings together after Mumbai lost their way in the middle, Singh saw to it that Mumbai got their much-needed slog-overs fillip. Singh’s rapid cameo shifted the momentum, and Johnson did the rest.
Turning point the game: Chennai collapsing to 18 for 4 in their chase.
--By A Cricket Analyst