Well what do you know! In my last column I had mentioned that the Mumbai Indians would consider themselves fortunate to catch Chennai Super Kings on an off-day if they were to preserve their unbeaten home record, and that’s exactly what happened at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
I was not surprised to hear MS Dhoni reveal that Chennai coach, Stephen Fleming, had expressed his concerns ahead of the game that complacency could be the team’s biggest adversary after their remarkable seven game winning run. And so it proved.
It is difficult to keep winning, especially in this format, but what would surely have rankled the Chennai camp was the manner in which they lost. Pollard’s three consecutive dropped catches off Mike Hussey is certainly the most incredible thing I have ever seen on a cricket field. And in the form Hussey is in, he really ought to have gone on and scored a 100. That they failed to ride their luck pretty much summed up how poor Chennai were on the day.
It would be wrong to deny Mumbai their due though, as they clearly have assembled a varied bowling attack which is always a welcome asset in a batsman dominated game. The swing and pace of Johnson and Malinga are well complemented by the spin of Harbhajan and Ojha. Johnson has always been at his most dangerous when he swings the ball at good pace into the right handers as Badrinath discovered the other day.
The Kolkata Knight Riders are the next side who visit Mumbai to try and succeed where others have failed this season. The defending champions have surprisingly failed to hit the same high notes as they did a year ago and know anything but a win will pretty much end their dream of an attempt at retaining the trophy in front of their adoring fans, with the magical Eden Gardens the chosen venue for this year’s final.
Barring Gambhir, Morgan and Narine, the rest have been a shambles.
I expect Gambhir will come out with a point to prove after being snubbed yet again by the Indian selectors for next month’s Champions Trophy. The Kolkata skipper is clearly not the darling of the selection committee as I was surprised at his omission for the Australia series especially after he had fared decently against England.
It appears there’s something more to it than the stats.