Uncanny similarities between the 2010 and 2013 IPL finals between CSK and Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians won their first Indian Premier League (IPL) title in six years © IANS

By Dhananjay Devasper

There was an escapable sense of deja vu watching the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Mumbai Indians (MI) Indian Premier League (IPL) final on Sunday.

Such was the case in the MI vs CSK IPL finals. The distractions outside the field, more than threatened to spoil the atmosphere of the finals. The spot fixing saga, involving the troubled trio of S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, had firmly taken center stage and threatened to overshadow the battle between two of the best teams in the IPL. When you add the CSK’s Principal Gurunath Meiyappan to the list of people arrested, it can more than demoralise a team and distract them, as Stephen Fleming later admitted.

The last time these two teams contested in the final was in 2010. The team batting first (CSK) won the match as was the case in the 2013 final.

More uncanny is the fact that the team batting first won by 22 runs in the 2010 final, while in the 2013 final, Mumbai Indians by 23 runs.

But that’s not all.  Mumbai’s score in both editions was almost the same — 146 in 2010 and 148 in 2013.
The similarities don’t just end there. CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni used the same ploy against a rampaging Kieron Pollard in terms of placing a fielder just behind the bowler. Both times he chose a southpaw batsman for the job, Matthew Hayden in 2010 and Suresh Raina in 2013.

Kieron Pollard was also involved in “sacrifice” run-outs in both editions. In the first, Ambati Rayudu sacrificed his wicket so Pollard could carry on and in the second Rishi Dhawan sacrificed his wicket. Both the run-outs occured when two runs were being attempted so that Pollard could get back on strike.

The Mumbai Indians scored their runs at almost the same rate as they did in 2010. Mumbai scored 50 runs in 9.4 overs and nine overs in 2010 and 2013 respectively, and 100 runs in 14.3 overs and 15 overs in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

And finally, at a crucial juncture in the match, both captains made the same tactical blunder. In 2010, Sachin Tendulkar sent JP Duminy ahead of Pollard, when the match was at a crucial stage.  Duminy scratched around for seven crucial balls and when Pollard came in at the fall of the next wicket his big hits were enough to give Chennai a few jitters. Similarly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni inexplicably sent Ravindra Jadeja ahead of him when Chennai was looking down the barrel. Jadeja ended up playing a poor shot pushing the team into further peril. As Dhoni later proved, if his partners had stuck around, it might have been a closer affair.

In all of this, one has to question the kind of shots that the CSK’s batsmen played, despite the circumstances. It prompted some commentators — not contracted with the BCCI — to question whether they were playing to lose. If it were so, then not only does it take the sheen away from Mumbai’s victory, but it also raises questions on what kind of a tournament, the IPL is slowly turning into and why would CSK do something like this. This year has seen the worst kind of controversies that do not bode well for the game of cricket in general. Perceptions like these are not going to help the tournament in the long run either.

Stay tuned…

(Dhananjay Devasper is an “IT guy” by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)