CHENNAI: Murali Vijay's withering century set-up a massive 86-run win for Chennai Super Kings over Delhi Daredevils in the 2nd qualifier on Friday.
Chennai’s rousing triumph, their 2nd in succession after the shellacking of Mumbai Indians in the Eliminator, places them in their 3rd consecutive, and 4th overall, last, which they will contest against Kolkata Knight Riders at the same venue on Sunday evening for a tilt at the most unachievable of records – a hat-trick of IPL titles.
Once Chennai had posted the season’s highest total – 222 – it would have been wishful thinking to expect Delhi to make a first of it on what is generally careful to be a treacherous track. As it happened, Delhi, opening with Jayawardene and Warner, were never in the chase after the early dismissals of Warner and captain Sehwag disallowed them to gain any sort of momentum.
Daredevils kept up a run-rate in the vicinity of nine runs-per over for the most part, thanks to Jayawardene’s classy 55, but behind the tempo - at least through the duration of a super-200 chase - was nigh impossible. The pursuit was ruined by tumbling wickets, as batsmen attempt in vain to meet the spiraling obligation, only to be arrested with finality in the 17th over when Dhoni ran out final man Varun Aaron.
The double defensive champions appear to be on an upswing, and on Friday it wasn’t just good cricketing that took them to victory. Daredevils – strictly the ‘home’ side by virtue of last at the top in the league stage – were on the back foot even previous to the game began. They chose to ‘rest’ the most winning bowler in IPL-V, Morne Morkel, and replaced him with debutant off-spinner Sunny Gupta, who was murder for 47 runs in 3 overs. It did not help that the pacy, supposedly promising Varun went for 63 in his 4 overs.
When Sehwag selected to field in a crunch game at a venue where pursuer are in need by the progressive slowness of the surface, Delhi appear to be hell-bent on making things tough for them. If that wasn’t bad enough, Vijay initiate the mayhem by nailing boundaries off the 1st 2 balls of Chennai’s innings, and from there the run-rate only went North, and beyond.
It would be futile to delve into person hits, which were too many to recount. Let it be put on record still that it was Dhoni’s faith in Vijay that paid off. Out of sorts with a niggle in the wrist for the most of the season, Vijay began by hammering boundaries off Sunny and in the company of Michael Hussey took Super Kings to 68 in seven overs.
Hussey was quickly out, and Vijay got moving when Sehwag introduce himself in the 11th over – first a six over midwicket caught by Ross Taylor who overstepped the boundary then a slash over backward point for four, and then one more 4 and 6 to long-on and over cow corner respectively.
Daredevils made things worse with their butter fingers. Slowcoach Sehwag at cover was late on a mishit by Raina, and even the regularly reliable Warner fluffed Dhoni at long-on. It was persistent hitting all the way as Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo joined the revels with brutal cameos of their own, as if they were just ongoing the riot act from their earlier game against Mumbai Indians.
Vijay reach his hundred in 51 balls and was run-out on the final ball of the 1st innings. It was a remorseless show through and through – a display befitting the most dominate team across the short history of the match – and reminiscent of the destruction Vijay had caused in the 2011 IPL final. Can he do it again on Sunday against KKR? Or will Sunil Narine derail the Chennai juggernaut and prevent a hat-trick of titles? We shall know quickly.
Man of the match
Chennai Super Kings Vs kolkata Knight Riders.
Final, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, 27 May 2012 08:00 Pm