Chennai Super Kings’ superb show

Simply superb... Chennai Super Kings players celebrate after trouncing Kings XI, Punjab in the second semi-final.-PTI

Makhaya Ntini and Manpreet Gony gave an outstanding display of fast bowling to blow Kings XI, Punjab to smithereens. By G. Viswanath.

True to its name, the Chennai team turned out to be the Super Kings in the DLF-IPL semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium. It harassed Kings XI, Punjab and bundled it out for a meagre 112. Chennai Super Kings trusted its chief weapons and used them well to dismantle each of the superstars of Kings XI.

Twenty20 is an ideal platform for the conventional and genuine fast bowlers to reap rewards without fears of getting hit. One of the greatest fast bowlers, Frank ‘Typhoon’ Tyson of England, hated trying a variety of deliveries in his opening spell. He described a fast bowler as one who runs in hard, bends his back, bowls as fast as possible outside the off stump and challenges the batsman to cut him. In a way Makhaya Ntini, the Man of the Match, and Manpreet Gony stuck to this definition of a fast bowler.

Ntini, who was in indifferent form in the earlier matches, rose to the occasion in the crunch game and proved his worth. With 600 wickets under his belt — 344 in Tests and 256 in one-day internationals — the South African gave an outstanding exhibition of fast bowling. And as luck would have it, his partner, the strapping Gony, produced a gem of a spell. It was obvious that the Chennai Super Kings’ skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had given them the freedom to bowl with the intention of crushing the Kings XI batsmen as soon as possible.

Off colour right through the competition, Muttiah Muralitharan was taken off soon after Shaun Marsh put him away to the cover boundary.

There was an element of risk in the shots played by Marsh and Yuvraj Singh. Besides, they also chose to counter-attack at the wrong time. The wickets of James Hopes, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene came off good deliveries though.

Ntini and Gony bowled a superb line and length. Trying to hit the ball on the up, Hopes nicked Ntini to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. Like the Australian all-rounder, Sangakkara was also forced into an error by Gony though umpire Daryl Harper was not convinced. The Sri Lankan walked. It was an extraordinary moment in the semi-final.

Jayawardene fell to a well-directed delivery in the channel from Albie Morkel. With his dismissal Super Kings took complete control of the match.

With Kings XI tottering at 45 for six, Chennai Super Kings was headed for a runaway victory.

Chennai Super Kings coach Kepler Wessels’ prediction that his team’s chances in the match were 50-50 turned out to be way off the mark. Ntini (4-0-23-2), Gony (4-1-14-2), Parthiv Patel (51 not out, 48 balls, 8x4) and Suresh Raina (55 not out, 34 balls, 4x4, 4x6) made an emphatic statement with their performances. Gony even sent down a maiden over.

Chennai Super Kings played like a champion outfit. Credit should go to each member of the team for giving an outstanding performance on the field in the first 20 overs of the match.

Patel and Raina exploded only when they were in sight of the target. Chennai’s nine-wicket victory with 31 balls to spare was simply brilliant. The Super Kings had executed its game plan very meticulously.

Kings XI skipper Yuvraj Singh said that losing half the side before the sixth over proved to be a major setback.

The Punjab team’s coach Tom Moody said: “It’s the first time to happen like this, the top order failed so badly. Our batsmen stumbled today. It was a bad one to stumble on, it happened in the semi-finals.”

THE SCORES

Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI, Punjab, second semi-final, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, May 31, 2008.

Result: Chennai Super Kings won by nine wickets.

Kings XI, Punjab 112 for eight in 20 overs (S. Marsh 23, W. Mota 25, R. Powar 28 not out, Ntini two for 23, Gony two for 14, Morkel two for 27) lost to Chennai Super Kings 116 for one in 14.5 overs (P. Patel 51 not out, S. Raina 55 not out).