Manvinder Bisla almost replicated the coup of last year, but Chennai Super Kings prevailed on Sunday to ensure there was no repeat of the 2012 Indian T20 league final at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
The scene at the first strategic timeout was reminiscent of an army plotting the downfall of the enemy’s mightiest warrior. Michael Hussey had provided the Chennai Super Kings with a blazing start and Kolkata Knight Riders were searching for answers. A substitute from the CSK dugout rushed out with an umbrella, to provide Hussey some shade from the scorching sun. The 37-year-old, unbeaten on 50 at that point, ensured CSK raced away to 86 for no loss in eight overs. At the other end, each and every KKR member was on the field. The huddle was formed and ideas were being thrown in during the animated discussion.
Yet, none of their strategies worked. Hussey continued in the same vein, like poetry in motion. There were no rash shots, no powerful hits. It was all about finding the gaps.
Initially, Hussey appeared to have zoomed in on L Balaji as the bowler to target. He would make room and take a step down to loft him over cover for boundaries. Once Sunil Narine was brought into the attack, there was no way he would let him settle down.
However, he was unlucky to find a fielder while he was just five away from what would have been a magnificent century. Yet, KKR’s morale was down by the time Narine had Hussey caught at deep mid-wicket.
Glimmer of hope
After having been asked to bat first, CSK finished on 200 for three. However, the defending champions refused to buckle under pressure. They took the game to the final over before losing by 14 runs.
A wayward over by Dirk Nannes that cost 18 runs put the visitors on track. What followed from then on brought back memories of the 2012 final. The same venue, the same teams, a similar target, and a repeat of the Bisla show. Bisla made optimum use of the crease to guide the ball on either side of the stumps. The pull off a Nannes bouncer outside leg that fetched him a six over deep square leg was one such example.