How do you feel when you miss out on something you so really wanted? When life denies you another chance to attain those epochal levels of happiness? That feeling of lowliness, that state of dullness… That's how I feel now. CSK just lost to DDD. Their third match this IPL. A nail biting match indeed; it started off dramatically with the most famed openers perishing in successive overs. The Sehwag-Gambhir pair, the best opening pair in present day cricket put up 0 runs between them. The first ball of the match sent Gambhir to the stands. A restless Sehwag soon followed. That's when you thought it was all going Chennai's way. But lo! That was not to be. First Dilshan smacks the ball all around the ground, keeping the run rate steadily at 9 an over. And when Raina took a brilliant catch to end his innings, one thought peace would prevail. Alas, that was not to be. A.B had some other plans. He started off slowly, cashing in on his quick running and converting all singles to doubles. And his innings should have ended at half his total but for the sitter that Morkel dropped. A straight ball into his hands at long on; All he had to do was clasp his hands around the ball. But well, things do happen and that could have well been the Citi moment of 'failure'. A.B went on to score his first IPL century, and the first for this season as well and with that he took the dare devil's to 189. Only Balaji came up good with the ball for CSK, giving away just 19 off his allotted 4 overs and picking up three wickets as well.
A target of 190, requiring you to chase at 9.5 an over was always huge. But with the explosive batting line up like that of Chennai, it was well within the realms of possibility. And the big man of Aussie just proved a point. Allowing his willow to thrash the leather all around the ground, he was looking every bit devastating. Bagging the orange cap again, he raced to his 3rd IPL fifty in style. With a man like him, you don't worry about the runs. You just pray for him to be on song, the music doesn't matter. Sivamani was beating all he could, but nothing matched this man's thrashings. Patel gave him good support at the other end as well. Soon, the young Sangwan emerged to dismiss Patel. No problems still, for our run rate was far ahead of the asking rate, which was close to 8 now. By the time the strategic break came, we were cruising at 108. Needing only 82 in the next 10 with Mr. Big Man on the field, I for one thought we would easily make it. Perhaps even finish it an over ahead: D. But then cricket is not so predictable. Hayden was gone and in came Freddy. The big man did some good hitting but soon perished. In walked the Captain. He and Raina were doing a fair job. Still going smooth with the asking rate hovering around 8; but then the game soon took some twists. With Dhoni and Raina leaving, it was left to Morkel to finish. But alas, that Sangwan fella was doing a brilliant job today. And of course not to forget Vettori – who as usual displayed his class. What a reliable bowler is he? Keeps you deceived in flight and pace. He finished with amazing figures – 2 for 29 in his four overs; soon, the match which began with an asking rate of 9.5, and which had gone down to 8, climbed up to 10, then 11 and finally to 15 in the last over.
But wait, the penultimate over was where I thought we lost the match. Gony comes in smacks a six of his very first ball. This was the second last ball of the over. That was also the last over of Vettori. Badrinath had just perished trying to go over the top. The lad from Punjab showed his power by dismissing the ball to the stands with immaculate ease. And the last ball, he hits it to Sehwag at covers. A mix up between him and Morkel denied him a second or two which cost him his wicket and Vettori plucked the stumps off in style. This was a double blow; Denying Morkel the strike in the last over as well as not putting up a run on the board. In situations like this, every run matters.
The last man in was Joginder; and the bowler Nannes – the fiery Australian. First ball – wide off the stumps; Joginder stretches forth his bat. The ball stays in the air for a long time confusing all the viewers for a while. It just falls a few feet before the boundary ropes. Gambhir can't reach it but the ball doesn't pace towards the ropes as well. The batsmen run two. Bringing Joginder again on strike; 13 off 5 balls; this time he hits between mid wicket and mid on. Another two is the result; denying Morkel yet another chance. The third ball- Joginder hits it straight to the fielder but runs to get Morkel on strike. Obviously he is run out but more importantly brings Morkel to strike. 3 balls and 11 runs; Balaji comes in. Nannes to Morkel; bangs in but straight to the fielder. Could only result in a single so Morkel doesn't run but Balaji does and he is gone. 2 balls 11 runs. This time Morkel tries again to put it out of the ground but fails , takes a single. Last ball yields no run. End of Match;
After all the twists and turns, Chennai still stands fourth with two losses out of their three matches. But they did put up a fight today. I sure hope they'll bounce back and come back to grab the trophy.