CHENNAI: If you look at the history of Tamil Nadu cricket, they seem to be suffering from a Mumbai phobia. They have lost to the most successful team in Ranji Trophy history on several occasions, the final in 2004 against a weak Mumbai team being a case in point.Mumbai Indians, too, seem to be gaining a psychological hold over Chennai Super Kings. Rohit Sharma’s side beat MS Dhoni’s men for the third time this season in Qualifier 1 of the IPL on Tuesday to reach the final.
Chennai will travel to Visakhapatnam to play the winner of Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 on May 10. Chasing 132 for a win, Mumbai made a bad start, losing Rohit Sharma in the first over and Quinton de Kock soon after. But Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan played sensibly to bail Mumbai out from a tricky situation to a position of strength.
ALSO READ | CSK vs MI: Going for the head
Just as the pair appeared to be steering Mumbai to victory, Imran Tahir struck twice. Ishan was castled by a peach of a delivery and Krunal Pandya was caught and bowled next ball. These dismissals gave the packed crowd a ray of hope. But the underrated Suryakumar proved his mettle with a polished 71 off 54 balls. He was confident and struck boundaries at will.Earlier, riding on Ambati Rayudu’s unbeaten 42 and skipper Dhoni’s 37 not out, Chennai made 131 for 4. After the top-order collapsed due to poor shot selection, Rayudu and Dhoni tried their best to take the team to a challenging total.
Rayudu was slow initially. Once he got a feel of the surface, he played the medium-pacers with ease and used his feet well against the spinners. His six off Jayant Yadav, where the ball sailed over the mid-wicket fence, was the shot of the day. Dhoni in his usual fashion tried to accelerate at the death, but not with great success. There were two successive sixes off Lasith Malinga in the 19th over, but the final over by Jasprit Bumrah did not fetch a boundary. Bumrah showed why he is regarded as one of the best death bowlers by varying his pace and not giving the batsmen width. Full marks to Rohit too, for shuffling his bowlers and keeping Chennai to a gettable score.
Dhoni admitted his team should have batted better and 131 was difficult to defend. “Things didn’t go our way, especially in batting. At home, we had to assess the conditions quickly. We played seven games on this pitch and should have read it better.”The skipper felt his team’s bowling could have been better too. “These are the players we have banked on. They have the experience and should know the conditions better. Hopefully, we will do well in the next game.
We were a bit unlucky at times, some balls dropped in the middle, a few catches didn’t carry. We could have bowled slightly away from the batsmen, slowed down the pace and use more variations. But we didn’t have runs on the board. Luckily, we finished in the top-two and that gives us a second chance.”
Brief scores: Chennai 131/4 in 20 ovs (Rayudu 42 n.o, Dhoni 37 n.o; R Chahar 2/14) lost to Mumbai 132/4 in 18.3 ovs (S Yadav 71 n.o; Tahir 2/33).