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Kudos to MSD for reviving middle order

The Chennai Super Kings are clicking as a team. We seem to have reached a stage where if our bowlers give away, say an extra 20 runs, the batsmen are prepared to chase the same. Similarly, if the batsmen contribute 15 runs less than the par for the day, the bowlers have stepped up, Venkatesh Prasad writes.

cricket Updated: May 13, 2009 02:44 IST
Venkatesh Prasad

The Chennai Super Kings are clicking as a team. We seem to have reached a stage where if our bowlers give away, say an extra 20 runs, the batsmen are prepared to chase the same. Similarly, if the batsmen contribute 15 runs less than the par for the day, the bowlers have stepped up.

Sadly, our fielding and catching continues to flounder.

As far as improvements go, it has been amazing to see MS (Dhoni) bat in the last three games. It was heartening to see someone like him accept that his batting hadn't come good in the first part of the tournament, and then having admitted it, gone about rectifying it from the next game onwards.

Our batsmen have been setting up the games for us, more so in the first six overs. If you compare the scores in the first six overs, you will find that CSK are a notch higher than most teams. With such starts being the norm, it was crucial that the middle order took advantage and that’s where Dhoni came in.

There was no additional preparation involved, no great strategising, it was just that he was prepared to take on the responsibility of ensuring that the middle-order delivered. This ability to lift one’s game at the right time is the hallmark of a great cricketer. Along with MS, Badrinath too has been batting well, which means that only Albie Morkel is yet to come good. He is due and I am sure he’ll deliver.

But it is not as if we are about cricket only. We are certainly enjoying ourselves away from it as well. A few players took off to the Sun City with their families while a few stayed back in Kimberley to go to the Game Reserve.

There’s never a dull moment in our team, it’s just not possible with Makhaya Ntini around. He keeps everyone going with his humour. He’s desperate to play but understands why we are unable to field him as yet. Our bowling revolves around Muttiah Muralitharan and he's relishing leading the attack. We have been having a good run. Now it is a question of ensuring that it goes on.