HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014
Home not so sweet
Firoz Mirza, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 24, 2012
First Published: 00:13 IST(24/5/2012)
Last Updated: 01:32 IST(24/5/2012)

Gone are the days when the Chidambaram Stadium was considered the fortress of holders Chennai Super Kings that could not be breached. The MS Dhoni-led side, unbeaten at the venue last season, started their campaign in IPL V with a loss against the Mumbai Indians, and went on to lose two more matches out of the eight at home.

While the team won five games out of the eight at home, this was a climb-down from last season when they didn't lose a single match on home turf.

The situation was worse for some of the other franchises, who lost more matches at home than away. Out of their eight home matches, the Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers lost five each while Pune Warriors lost six.

The Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals lost half of their home games. The number could have been higher for KKR and RCB but for a rain abandoned game each at home.

The unpredictable nature of pitches reduced the home advantage for the teams this year.

Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh and Rohit Sharma went to the extent of criticising the pitches at the Wankhede Stadium.

The Chidambaram wicket also left CSK coach Stephen Fleming bemused after the loss to MI. He later admitted that the team management had misread the Chepauk wicket. The Super Kings continued to see the pitch as the villain as their miserable run continued at home.

One reason why teams haven't come to terms with the wicket could be the BCCI's directive to curators to prepare sporting wickets, thus reducing home advantage. "We had decided to prepare sporting wickets during the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy and other tournaments to follow. The results have shown that we have succeeded in our endeavour," said BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale.

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