IPL comment: "Last minute" Dhoni strikes again!

Source :SIFY
Last Updated: Mon, May 21st, 2012, 00:18:52hrs
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IPL comment:

In the 2007 T20 World Cup, while all the teams thought it would be a good idea to start hitting from the first ball, Dhoni had a different strategy for India. He told his team to go slow in the first five overs and keep wickets in hand for a final onslaught.

That strategy led us to the final where we posted a conservative 157/5 to still win in the last over.

This may be called "Slow and steady wins the race" or rather "Leave things for the last moment" a la Dhoni. Dhoni's penchant for late finishes has seen many nail-biting moments for the Indian and CSK fan.

With RR, CSK won the match by scoring 2 runs off the last ball.

With RCB, they hit a 4 off the last ball to chase a 200+ score.

What took the cake was the one with KKR, which they ended with a 6.

You have to agree that more CSK matches seem to last till the final over.

Incidentally the first ever last ball victory in IPL was by CSK when they chased 188 with DD in 2008.

The same thing is qualifying for the top 4 in IPL. CSK usually does well under pressure and is good at making in at the last moment. They did it last year. This year they went all out and won 3 of their last 4 matches.

But you have to give it to Dhoni. This policy has paid him rich dividends. From 2007-2011, he got two World Cups, 2 IPLs and one Champions League title.

And in IPL5, he’s done it again! CSK have actually reached the last four against all odds. They were hanging by a fine thread till the last day of the league matches and RCB’s loss to DC has seen them sneak in the back door at the last minute.

Like a cat Dhoni sure has nine lives and not for nothing is CSK the most precious team for IPL. Now they automatically become favourites to lift the title.

No icons and film stars please, we're the IPL!

When the IPL started, there were five icon player captains: Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians), Rahul Dravid (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata Knight Riders), Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils) and Yuvraj Singh (Kings XI Punjab).

Guess how many of them led their team to an IPL title?

The answer is none.

That translates to a zero per cent success rate if you were an icon player captain.

There were three non-icon captains: Shane Warne (Rajasthan Royals), Adam Gilchrist (Deccan Chargers) and MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings).

Guess how many of them led their team to an IPL title?

The answer is: All of them!

That translates to a hundred per cent success rate if you were a non-icon captain.

In fact VVS Laxman let go of the iconic status and handed charge to Gilchrist and DC won season 2.

The same bad luck plagued Bollywood film stars. Both Shahrukh Khan (KKR) and Preity Zinta (KXIP) didn’t even have a final slot to show for their efforts. The fortunes of RR also fell when Shilpa Shetty entered the equation.

It's safe to say that the first four editions of IPL were not for icons and film stars.

But in IPL 5, the script has a chance to change somewhat. DD has done really well this year and are at the top of the table. Sehwag has a great chance of winning the IPL for the first time.

Shahrukh Khan may have been banned from Wankhede Stadium and been involved in a "smoking in public" case, but he may have well have the last laugh if KKR manages to go all the way.

These top 2 teams are assured of two chances of making it to the final.

Second Successive Gayle Storm

West Indian Chris Gayle took IPL4 by storm when he joined RCB. This year there was tremendous hype around him and for once all that has been justified. If last year his 608 got him the Orange Cap, this year, he has bettered that crossing 700 runs when one league match was left. He also hit a half-century of 6s in the tournament with no-one coming a close second.

Out of all the IPL Orange Caps so far he also holds the highest tournament strike rate of 183 in 2011.

But just one thought. While those in RCB are cheering for him now, he could be a real threat for India if picked in the West Indies squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.

The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.

He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/

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