The one song that could be playing from the Chennai Super Kings dressing room – apart from their catchy anthem – would be, “We are the Champions” and double-champions at that. Three months after capturing the Indian Premier League back in India, the Super Kings ran home victors in the Champions League T20 by beating the home team, Warriors.
After an exciting set of group stage games, the final between arguably two of the three best teams in the competition failed to live up to the expectations. The Wanderers in Johannesburg is usually a high-scoring ground and a place where 180 can be chased in a T20 game. In a pressure final, it would have been difficult to get there, but 160 would have been par for the course.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the over-dependence on their captain, Davy Jacobs and a lack of batting options down the order exposed them woefully. To be fair to them, the manner in which the Super Kings spinners bowled, it would have been difficult even for the best of the middle-orders.
It would also be fair to say that two of the best captains and in all probability, the fairest of them all had entered the final. This is why, it was even more disheartening to watch the Warriors being rolled over in the manner that they did on Sunday.
However, the Warriors had their chances. Not only in the final, but also in the last league game, when a win over the same opponent would have meant that Chennai wouldn’t have qualified through to the semi-finals. Sadly, a defensive mindset saw the Warriors going after the sub-target – the runs they needed to make it through to the knock-outs – and the Super Kings were able to go through.
Usually, the captain of the Super Kings, MS Dhoni is at the helm of things; he gets the runs, he keeps wickets with aplomb and his form of leadership is always there for everyone to see. This time around, he had started off slowly, thanks to the viral infection that he had at the start of the tournament. Dhoni did play in all the games despite the travails and that put him in another endearing light for his players.
And like in most champion teams, there weren’t too many who did not play their part in the tournament. Murali Vijay top-scored to win the Golden Bat, Michael Hussey slammed a couple of fifties, Suresh Raina won a couple of man-of-the-match awards, S Badrinath and S Anirudha got off the side to a winning start against the Stags, while the bowlers got the opposition all-out in almost every game.
On the other hand, it was not as if the Warriors did not deserve to win. They started off with three straight wins including one against the pre-tournament favourites, Victoria. Then, in the semi-finals, they took out South Australia – a team which had trumped their opposition in all the four games before that – and got to the final.
However, Warriors’ most glaring of issues through the entire duration of the tournament – the lack of solidity in the middle-order – came back to haunt them against which can be defined as the most powerful bowling side in the tournament.
About the Author
Written by Suneer Chowdhary
A cricket-aspirant at the age of 12, tried my hand at pace bowling, but those were the days of India aspiring for spinners! So, chose the next best option to profess my love towards cricket; became a cricket writer instead