While Virender Sehwag (left) scored 122 runs off 58 deliveries, Suresh Raina struck a 25-ball 87 © IANS
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) continued their losing streak against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 after bowing out of the tournament in Qualifier 2. Shiamak Unwalla looks at some of the key moments that decided the outcome of the match between KXIP and CSK.
What happens when an unstoppable force comes up against an immovable object? Well, if the unstoppable force has beaten the immovable object twice already in one season, smashing past it for the third time is almost a given. This is especially true if the sides are Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Here are the moments that proved decisive in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 Qualifier 2 match:
The Toss: MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bowl first. Given that KXIP had chased down more than 200 in their first game, it was a fair call. However, Virender Sehwag soon made Dhoni rue his decision by smacking the hapless CSK bowlers to all ends of the ground.
Ishwar Pandey’s second over: The fourth over of the innings was bowled by Ishwar. KXIP were already looking very good, but with two fours and two sixes coming off the over, the launch pad was set.
Ashish Nehra’s spell to Virender Sehwag: Nehra bowled 12 balls to Sehwag in the match, which read 0, 4, 4, 4, 4, 0, 0, 1, 6, 6, 1, W. He finally got Sehwag out, but by then the damage was well and truly done.
Glenn Maxwell’s innings and send-off: Ravichandran Ashwin had announced before the match that he would be bowling over the wicket to Maxwell. He fulfilled his promise, and while Maxwell hit him for a six, he holed out off the very next delivery. Ashwin then picked up some sand and blew it in the direction of the pavilion. Maxwell was fuming at this, as Ashwin was condemned by Twitteraties and commentators alike. Even MS Dhoni was not amused by Ashwin’s antics. His final analysis of one for 44 did not help his cause.
Virender Sehwag’s century: Brutal, ruthless, sublime. All the epithets one would use about the Sehwag of yore came to mind as the Nawab of Najafgarh played the type of innings his fans dream about. With an innings of 122 off 58 balls, Sehwag ensured that Maxwell’s failure was neither felt nor cared for, as he tore into every CSK bowler without exception, hitting 12 boundaries and eight sixes during his knock. He was dismissed off the first ball in the 19th over, but by then he had all but wrapped things up for KXIP with a little ribbon.
David Miller’s cameo: For once, neither Miller nor Maxwell were required to use their long handles a lot, but in Miller’s brief stay at the crease, he ensured that the runs kept flowing thick and fast with a cameo of 38 runs in 19 balls with five hits to the fence and one over it.
Faf du Plessis’ first ball dismissal: With Brendon McCullum slightly short of match practice, the in-form Faf du Plessis was sent in to open the innings. However, he was out first ball to Mitchell Johnson, as CSK’s chase started off in the worst possible way.
Overs 1-6 of CSK’s innings: What on Earth is cricket coming to when there’s a risk of 226 in 20 overs not being a safe target? The way Suresh Raina unleashed himself on the KXIP bowlers, it looked like even 300 would be an easy chase! India’s interim One-Day International (ODI) captain went on a murderous rampage unlike any other seen in IPL 7 — Yusuf Pathan’s blitz against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Corey Anderson’s jailbreak innings against Rajasthan Royals (RR) included — that saw him hit an astounding 87 from merely 25 balls with 12 fours and six sixes to help CSK reach 100 in only six overs. Raina scored around 86 per cent of the total runs scored by CSK while he was in the middle.
George Bailey running out Suresh Raina: Undisputedly, the moment of the match. Quite possibly the most important piece of fielding seen in IPL 7 so far, KXIP skipper George Bailey threw down the stumps as Raina’s dive failed to save him. When Raina was dismissed, he had already helped CSK to 100 in six overs, but had to watch helplessly as they could only manage another 102 runs in the next 14 overs, as they fell short by 24 runs.
The tortoise and the hare: While McCullum played at a snail’s pace to crawl to 11 runs off 16 balls without any hits to the fence, David Hussey tried to play one shot too many when sensible batting was the order of the day, as he smacked his third ball to the fielder at short mid-wicket. The two overseas batsmen scored just 12 runs off 19 balls between them, as CSK lost all the momentum Raina had built up for them.
Akshar Patel’s miserly spell: The young left-arm spinner’s dream IPL run continued, as he bowled a line and length that no batsman was able to hit, to finish with dream figures of one for 23 in four overs — this after he was hit for a four and a six by Dhoni in his final over, the 19th of the innings. Akshar’s amazing figures came in a match replete with bloated economy rates and bruised bowling figures.
MS Dhoni keeping himself for too late: When a captain has the services of a batsman who has scored 371 runs in the season, and averages 74 while striking at 148, the captain will invariably send that batsman in as early as possible — unless his name happens to be JP Duminy, in which case it would be nigh unholy for him to bat higher than No 6. However, MS Dhoni perhaps took a few pages from Kevin Pietersen’s book and left too much for himself to do at the end. Had he come in an over or two earlier, he could well have scored the remaining 24 runs and guided CSK through to the finals in another last over finish. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 42 from 31 balls, and one feels that if he had had more time to bat, it would have been a rematch of IPL 2012 in the final.
Click here for IPL 2014 playoffs Schedule
Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7
Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results
Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)