It was a frustrating night for Anil Kumble. First the rain held up the two sides; then the injury to Dale Steyn; perforce recourse to irregular bowlers; a spate of no-balls and wides, not to speak of dropped catches and missed run-outs.
It all got under Kumble’s skin. The critical moment came in the seventh over. Chennai had just logged 50 on the board and Suresh Raina had flayed Kumble high and deep into the midwicket region where Manish Pandey fluffed the chance.
Kumble was upset the youngster had come too far inside and wasn’t quite close to the ropes.
As a bowler too, the skiddy conditions didn’t permit him to resort to his variations. In contrast, the Chennai Super Kings had a perfect night out. Raina played superbly. He lobbed, skimmed and swept monster sixes. The smallish ground and a below-par attack wilted under his onslaught. But for a missed ball in the final 17th over, the rising star could have had a century to his name.
The Super Kings were a team, which had exclusively relied on its spinners to carry them thus far. But on Friday, pacemen Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel worked up a magic.
Morkel was missing from the line-up in the last two games. Here, his return was special as he swung it late. With Doug Bollinger around, the two reduced Bangalore to 12 for 3 in the fourth over.
A couple of Kumble’s concerns indeed were right. He wanted Robin Uthappa and Ross Taylor to put their hands up in the final stretch of the campaign. But both turned out to be a no-show. Virat Kohli didn’t matter nor did the experienced Rahul Dravid.
But, I guess, Raina had sealed the match up in the first half itself. It’s a perfect platform for Chennai now to do an IPL and Champions League double — a sort of Twenty20 Grand Slam.
Three of its members — MS Dhoni, Raina and Murali Vijay — then must return home and face up to Australia’s challenge in the first Test at Mohali almost immediately.
Two of their lads would also be in Mohali albeit for the rival team — Doug Bollinger and Micheal Hussey. I find the situation spicy. However, the first Test can wait. It’s the Champions League final for now.