Dial MSD when you are in trouble. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has earned this reputation over the years. His batting raises eyebrows at times but he continues to deliver, mixing caution with aggression. Fresh from a sedate century on his last appearance at Eden, in the Test against South Africa last month, Dhoni was back with a bang, with the axe man effect.
For some time during the Chennai Super Kings innings on Tuesday, it looked as if the Kolkata Knight Riders would restrict them to a modest total.
Partnerships were not happening and the run rate wasn't going anywhere either. Dhoni and S. Badrinath provided both. The stand of 109 off 65 balls turned the match decisively. Badrinath played an intelligent innings, rotating the strike, hitting the occasional four or six himself. Ganguly tried everything but the breakthrough never came.
Quiet initially, Dhoni got going with a six over long-on and the intensity of the onslaught kept increasing. He scored 66 at a strike rate of 200 and after a hostile opening burst — even Shane Bond wasn't spared.
The chase wasn't going be easy and when Brad Hodge fell off the innings' second ball, KKR were in trouble. Manoj Tiwary went back in the second over and the rest tumbled with monotonous regularity. The big 55-run defeat also meant that the Knights have to keep an eye on the run-rate from now on.
There was a bit of history too that the Knights would like to wish away. After winning against the Challengers and Chargers in their first two games in 2008, a defeat against Chennai Super Kings derailed their campaign so badly that it became a talking point.