The city wants the master to excel and Mumbai to lose | cricket | Hindustan Times
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The city wants the master to excel and Mumbai to lose

Tickets for Tuesday’s match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians at Chepauk have been the most sought after from the beginning of IPL III. The reason — Sachin Tendulkar is coming to town. NikhileshBhattacharya reports.

cricket Updated: Apr 06, 2010 01:57 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

Tickets for Tuesday’s match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians at Chepauk have been the most sought after from the beginning of IPL III. The reason — Sachin Tendulkar is coming to town.

The Mumbai Indians have an unfair advantage over all other teams in the competition: no other team has an icon so unreservedly loved in every part of the country.

Yes, there were loud cheers for Yuvraj Singh when he came out to bat for the Kings XI Punjab here last month. One can also spot a fan or two in Chennai in Kolkata Knight Riders’ jerseys because they still adore Sourav Ganguly. But Tendulkar is a different phenomenon.

Scarily for the Super Kings, the Mumbai Bomber has happy memories at Chepauk. Tendulkar considers his match winning, unbeaten, fourth-innings hundred against England in December 2008 as one of his best knocks.

Tendulkar was also the difference between the two sides when they met earlier in IPL III. His 52-ball 72 anchored the chase as Mumbai Indians overhauled a target of 181 at Brabourne.

Loyal fans of the Super Kings, who turn up at match after match in bright yellow jerseys, will be torn between the desire to see another Tendulkar special and the knowledge that the hosts need to send him back early to win.

The Super Kings’ management has no room for such sentiment. After four consecutive losses, they have regained some momentum with two home wins on the bounce.

“It would be nice if we can turn Chennai into a fortress,” Super Kings batsman Mike Hussey said after landing in India recently. To do that they must beat the best.

Sitting on top of the IPL standings, the Mumbai Indians have been the best so far, and by some distance.

They have lost only one of their eight matches played, against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mumbai.

The key to that match was the ability of the Royal Challengers’ bowlers to pick up wickets at regular intervals to restrict the Mumbai Indians to 151 for nine. The Super Kings’ attack, even after the inclusion of Doug Bollinger, seems to lack that kind of wicket-taking ability.

The hosts however will be more desperate for this home win as they work towards securing a semi-final spot.

And sometimes desperation gives a team just that little extra edge.