CSK clear favourites to retain IPL

Source : COLUMNS
By : Ross Taylor
Last Updated: Thu, May 26, 2011 04:31 hrs
Chennai Super Kings beat Delhi Daredevils by 18 runs

A total of 175 is a competitive target on any kind of pitch, especially in a game that is bound to put pressure on the side chasing it. Juxtapose that with the kind of start that Bangalore got with the ball in the hand, and they would have fancied themselves to get to the final in this very first attempt.

Unfortunately for them, Suresh Raina decided to push himself into form at the most inopportune of times -- for the Royal Challengers -- and with support from his captain M.S Dhoni and Albie Morkel towards the end, the Super Kings

were through to their third IPL final in as many years.

It was an innings of substance given that he had cramped very early in the knock and the running between the wickets was definitely being hampered by the issue. Of course, what helped him was that throughout the entire duration of the game, the pitch played as true as it had at the start of the innings and the ball never stopped coming on to the bat.

Disappointing to lose despite playing well: Kohli

For most part of the innings, Bangalore did a good job with the ball; Gayle conceded 19 from his four, Zaheer had given away only 11 from his first three while Vettori had gone for 19 from his three. However, once Zaheer had been taken for 20 in his final over, the momentum seemed to have swung in the favour of Chennai and from that stage, there was no looking back.

To me, that seemed the turning point of the game.

So, now, in the last two successive games we have seen the side batting second hold their nerve in a big chase and overcome in excess of 30 runs in the last couple of overs. Mumbai Indians had done that against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous encounter to steal away the opponents' qualifier berth and it is making for a thrilling game or two.

Bangalore have now lost two games out of the last three that they have played and Chris Gayle's early dismissal has been the common thread in both. While Virat Kohli did compensate for that with a superb innings of 70 in the qualifier, one gets the sense that the way Gayle gets his runs seems to deflate the opposition bowlers much quicker than most other batsmen.

Mumbai Indians knock KKR out of IPL

This will be Chennai's third final in four years and their record speaks for themselves. They have been consistent, have a cool captain-coach combination whilst being helped a lot by having a similar-looking side from the previous three seasons of the tournament.

With a three-day break between now and the final, as compared to no such breaks for their opposition in the final, and the game to be played at their home in Chepauk, there isn't too much doubt that the Super Kings will be favourites, irrespective of who their opposition are.

Professional Management Group

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