Chennai Super Kings have an odd-pair in Doug Bollinger and R. Ashwin to share the new ball. One, a left-arm paceman the other, an off-spinner. Their sizes differ as much as their field of skills. Yet the two are proving an irresistible combination for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The two together plotted the exit of Deccan Chargers on Thursday night.
Both sent down their eight overs for a mere 27 runs and scalped five wickets! This feat they managed in the face of known openers such as Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs.
If the ball was swinging, how did R. Ashwin succeed? And if the ball was spinning, how did Bollinger manage his four wickets? This proves the theory that good bowlers overcome conditions. A Glenn McGrath was successful on any sort of turf. A Malcolm Marshall was as deadly in Kanpur as he was in Kingston.
A Shane Warne could weave his web of mystery on any surface.
Bollinger and Ashwin surely would have Mumbai’s attention in the finals.To add to Mumbai’s wariness is the pitch at the DY Patil stadium. It surely is a slow surface, aiding to spin.Chennai’s attack is largely built around its spinners—Ashwin, Muthiah Muralitharan and Shadab Jakati.They wouldn’t like to get off to a slow start and then being choked in the middle by the spin-dance on a turning track.
Bollinger already is a star on the rise in international circuit. In a very short span, his success both in Tests and one-dayers is hugely impressive. He is sharp and can swing it disconcertingly. His accuracy can drive the batsmen to frustration. He also has a delivery which straightens after threatening to leave a right-hander. Above all he has a big heart.
He is an in-your-face kind of fast bowler who likes to intimidate batsmen. There is no dip in his energy even on a long day in a Test. If it is a matter of a mere four overs of Twenty20, his intensity can be overpowering.
Ashwin is a different matter. He isn’t a classical spinner but that’s his strength. For the moment, the batsmen are struggling to read him off his hand. Like all good bowlers, he has the a bility to second-guess the batsmen. He comes across as a bowler who is tough and competitive.
Mumbai Indians would surely need their skipper to unlock this Chennai code. They bat deep and most can haul the team out of a crisis, yet Tendulkar’s assurance is something else.