It will be an Indian night in Durban on Friday. Both the Chennai and Bangalore have qualified on net run-rate. Both skipped a heartbeat or two in the league stage, but now, at least one IPL team will be in the Champions League finals.
Chennai appear more impressive of the two teams. They lost just a match and that too in a Super-Over finish. Bangalore lost two. Both have shown tenacity when faced with adversity. On paper and for the conditions, Bangalore seem stronger but it’s not about who is stronger on paper.
Chennai are a super team in this T20 format. They have made it past the league stages in all editions of the IPL and now in the Champions League. The way they rose like a Phoenix to win the IPL this year is a fairytale. Bangalore’s has been a similar tale.
Down and out in the opening IPL, the two sides are now superpowers in their own right. Both teams have a good blend of youth and experience and astute captaincy has been the hallmark of their rise. For this, Kumble and Dhoni must be given credit.
Both men have respect and affection for each other. Kumble was the first to state that he was a stand-in captain for Dhoni in 2007-2008. Dhoni returned the compliment when he insisted the by-now-retired Kumble lift the trophy with him after beating Australia in the 2008 Test series.
Both enjoy enormous respect — an essential ingredient for a successful captain, and are willing to stand up for talented youngsters.
After R Ashwin got a pasting in the Super-Over fiasco, Dhoni not only played him in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, but also made the off-spinner share the new ball. The young bowler responded with three critical wickets at a minimal cost.
Kumble did likewise in keeping faith in Virat Kohli. The young gun was pitch-forked at number three against the Lions and played a critical hand.