Chennai back on track with a bang
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Royal Challengers Bangalore v Chennai Super Kings
Player:A Flintoff, PA Patel, M Muralitharan, ML Hayden
Event:Indian Premier League 2009

DateLine: 20th April 2009


A team with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Matthew Hayden, Andrew Flintoff and Muttiah Muralitharan in the ranks is going to win more often than lose, and the contest at the St. Georgeís Park was in consonance with the talent that Chennai Super Kings possess. After a Hayden hurricane gave them 180 runs to defend, Murali came in with a magic spell, while Flintoff and Dhoni played their parts, as they decimated Bangalore Royal Challengers by 92 runs.


Bangalore always had a challenge at their hands, given 180 was about 40 runs too many to chase. On top of that, they had to deal with four overs from Muralitharan. This was a combination many teams would struggle against, and the margin of defeat in the end was pretty much on the cards.


Not as if Bangalore were burning the turf before that, since they had lost Praveen Kumar to Manpreet Gony early on. While Jacques Kallis and Robin Uthappa did give the Bangalore boys some hope, with a stand of 40 in double-quick time, it was never really challenging enough.


Once Kallis fell to compatriot Albie Morkel, things hit a steep slope, and Bangalore hurtled down to a very sobering defeat indeed.


The downhill began with Muraliís spell, which was going to be telling, turned the game on its head. Kevin Pietersen is surely one player who could change things, but he lasted one Murali delivery, hypnotised by the off-break. Uthappa then got a master-class of spin, a doosra which completely floored him, and Dhoni completed a sharp stumping.


Dhoniís captaincy is something to remark about. He took the gloves for this game, since he knew he would be needed for Muraliís bowling and Parthiv Patel may not be up to it. And it came good brilliantly.


Once Murali had got down to his business, Bangalore had no chance. Rahul Dravid tried, but he had little in terms of support from the other end. Rarely does one see such a radical change of scene as the match here. It looked like two completely different matches, split right down the middle from the ten over phase.


The first ten overs were amazing, since Hayden and Patel began attacking the bowling right from the beginning, as if these were the last few overs, not the first few. They had their share of luck as well, Hayden being dropped in the first over, and a lot of miscues and top edges falling between fielders.


But the edges apart, whatever hit the middle of the bat simply vanished. One can always expect Hayden to be the sledgehammer, but to see Patel match him stroke for stroke must have been a shock to Pietersenís system. Nothing seemed to be going his way, and the seamers, especially Praveen Kumar, who was so successful in Cape Town, got little help.


Dale Steyn also had little to offer in the first lot of overs, as did Anil Kumble, and Jacques Kallisí maiden appearance in this IPL ended with 20 runs off one over.


Then came the break, and Pietersen chose to reduce the pace and brought himself on, and the first ball of the 11th over saw the plot change dramatically. Off went Patel, a wild swing brining the end for him, and then Hayden followed, thanks to Dravidís direct throw.


Thereafter, things seemed to just slow down a bit for Chennai, as Suresh Raina and Dhoni decided to pace it out, especially against Kumble.


That seemed to take a lot of steam out of the Chennai assault, and it needed Flintoff to come in and get things going again. In fact, given that Chennai were 106 for no loss after ten overs, they would be a shade disappointed that they did not push on to get a few more runs, especially since they had enough wickets left at the end.


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