The question that most of the fans had in their mind ahead of the second qualifier was 'does Delhi Daredevils have the big match temperament?' Eventually it turned out that they don’t have it. The form that Delhi were in, they should have found a place in the final, but once again a lot of tactical errors cost them the opportunity.
The fans will still have a lot of questions to the Delhi management. Hasn’t Delhi’s main strength been batting? Hasn’t Morne Morkel been one of the best bowlers in the IPL? Isn’t Virender Sehwag one of the best openers in all the formats, leave alone Twenty20?
The answers of all these questions have added to the goof ups from the first qualifier and resulted in Delhi’s exit from the IPL. In their last match, they went for a predominant pace attack in a spin friendly surface and Ross Taylor batted way down the order.
I am a firm believer in win the toss and bat first and especially for a team like Delhi, who have impact players like Sehwag, David Warner, Ross Taylor added with the stability of Mahela Jayawardene. The most baffling decision however was to leave out Morne, Delhi's best bowler in the competition in favour of a debutant all-rounder, who is making his IPL debut in such a high pressure game, just in the name of getting the balance right. Also I wondered why didn’t the left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem play the game?
Delhi, who have played their best cricket in the league stages have themselves to blame for their exit, but that doesn’t take anything away from the Chennai Super Kings, who have a habit of saving their best for the play-offs. Chennai have been absolutely lethal in the last two games and this was Murali Vijay’s turn to show that why he is such a valuable player to the Chennai outfit. He was having a rough season but he is another big match player and has often stood up in high pressure games.
Kolkata have heavily relied on their skipper Gautam Gambhir when it comes to batting. Gambhir is a dangerous player in the subcontinent conditions and he has been a complete value for money for his team. He was justified the investment made on him with his aggression and ability to lead from the front with performance. When it comes to their bowling, it’s been Sunil Narine all the way! What a season he has had. He has confidently pulled games in Kolkata’s favour.
There isn’t much between Chennai and Kolkata, both have set of aggressive batsmen, good all-rounders and quality spinners. However, the Chennai team has exceptional big match temperament and most importantly they are playing well as a unit, which is why they have the edge over Kolkata Knight Riders, who have relied more on individuals. So the stage for the final is set, and we hope for another cracker of a contest.