Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings, Eliminator Preview, IPL 2012
Through fate, incompetence (on the parts of others) and some scattered hard work, Chennai Super Kings have reached the playoffs of yet another edition of the Indian Premier League.
I shouldn’t talk about incompetence though, CSK needed massive amounts of luck to make it through including 3 crucial results in a row that involved RR, KXIP and RCB all losing to teams like DC.
CSK meet Mumbai Indians in the Eliminator tonight, a team we’ve never beaten since 2010. We’ve lost 5 games since then to them including one CLT20 fixture. CSK never lost a game when I was watching at the stadium (happened twice) but they lost off the last ball earlier in May when I was in the Wankhede, wondering why Dhoni couldn’t set a straight mid on/long on, why Hilfenhaus couldn’t bowl a short pitch delivery to Dwayne Smith. Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma found form, Harbhajan Singh bowled well and even Smith connected with three consecutive deliveries. Can things get worse?
Yes they can. Mumbai have NEVER lost a game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of the Eliminator. Not even when they were 51/5 in 8.5 overs chasing 171. Instead they sealed the chase with 2 balls to spare, hitting 122 off just 65 fucking balls. And this was just over a week ago.
In Plaha, Munaf, RP, Rohit and Dinesh Karthik, MI have players who have their issues with/feel let down by MS Dhoni, by the K Srikkanth led selection panel and even Murali Vijay. That’s a lot of personal motivation to be up against.
Mumbai have experimented with about 10 different opening pairs but all of them have had one great stand. Not the same case with CSK where the questions of playing Hussey ahead of du Plessis, of playing Srikkanth, of where to slot Badrinath/Bravo in the batting order and Jakati’s wildly fluctuating form have added their share of white hairs to MS Dhoni’s head. Add to that his and Suresh Raina’s weakest form in years and you can understand why CSK aren’t the favourites tonight.
However, they weren’t the favourites earlier in 2010. They weren’t favourites for a point in 2011. Heck, they weren’t favourites on Sunday afternoon. But they’re still here. That takes some doing, gives me some hope.
After a very bad campaign I had resigned myself to our first exit without making the playoffs since the IPL began. When we finally put a run that made us look like contenders we got the worst show of the season at Dharamsala. But we still made it through. Every win from here therefore is a bonus and three wins in a row against MI, DD and KKR respectively is a lot to ask for even the most optimistic fans. But we’re used to asking and used to getting. So good luck, do your best and whistle podu!