Chennai Super Kings History
Chennai, May 28: What would you ask for while leading your team in an IPL final? That you have a full strength side available? That you win the toss and opt to bat on a track that might slow down through the game? That your opening batsmen put up a record partnership? That you post a 200-plus target? That your bowlers dismiss the Orange Cap holder, and the opposition’s main batsman, for a duck?
By 10 p.m., on the day of the big final against Royal Challengers Bangalore, MS Dhoni had already checked off every one of these wishes off his list. And though there was the little matter of 19 overs still to be played out, the defending champs were already within touching distance of the shimmering new IPL trophy.
Over a long and arduous season, with the excitement of the competition matching the soaring atmospheric temperature, the last two teams standing had wildly different journeys to the ultimate fight. While Chennai Super Kings had put up a solid, all-round show, proving themselves to be invincible at home, RCB had largely earned a place in the final thanks to a series of whirlwind batting performances by the towering Chris Gayle.
So when Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay came out to bat at the typically humid Chepauk, spectators were expecting something special from their home side. But even the most loyal of fans would not have imagined what came next. A charmed opening partnership, that featured Hussey’s half-century (63 off 45) and a near-ton by Vijay (95 off 52), took the hosts to the unassailable position of 159 for no loss. Bludgeoning the RCB bowlers to every direction possible, the duo left the visitors already dreaming of one of those Gayle specials that would miraculously win them the chase.
While Dhoni promoted himself to No.3 to play a quick cameo of 22 off 13, the RCB bowlers tasted limited and late success, thanks to two consecutive wickets off Gayle’s last over. But the hat-trick, if it had come, would be of purely academic interest. CSK ended ultimately on the daunting score of 205, ending with a flourish thanks to a last-ball six off Dwayne Bravo.
All eyes on Chris Gayle as the chase began. But blink and he was gone. A few balls into the first over and Ravichandran Ashwin found himself being tackled by his team-mates, caught in a heap of limbs and grins on the field: a fitting celebration for the departure of the one man who made the 200-plus target seem eminently achievable. The celebrations continued in the third over when Ashwin managed to flick Mayank Agarwal’s off stump, adding insult to RCB’s early injury.
Hopes of an AB de Villiers special disappeared with a Shadab Jakati delivery in the seventh over finding the right mark. A plumb LBW decision followed, leaving AB surprisingly unhappy. Following the Ashwin template, Jakati returned soon enough to grab another wicket, Luke Pomersbach dismissed caught and bowled on 2.
After nine overs, RCB’s asking-rate had climbed to over 12 RpO, fanciful if not entirely impossible. When Virat Kohli, who had put up a fight scoring 35 off 32, went down to Suresh Raina in the tenth over thanks to a harsh LBW decision, a turnaround for RCB seemed as unlikely as a chilly breeze blowing across the sultry ground.
With captain Daniel Vettori being sent back off the first ball he faced off Ashwin (c&b), the overwhelmingly one-sided contest inched towards its inevitable end. Saurabh Tiwary remained unbeaten on 42 off 34 in a long-lost cause as the game drew to a close. The league-stage table-toppers bowed out of the competition 58 runs too short, wondering how they could have kept CSK down on a day when the latter played their best game on a ground that refuses to see them lose.
With three consecutive titles to their name (IPL 2010, CLT20 2010, IPL 2011), CSK have emerged as the most powerful force in the (domestic) T20 realm. Which begs the question: Whatever the format, with Dhoni at the helm, can world domination be far behind?

Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 205/5 in 20 overs (Murali Vijay 95, Michael Hussey 63, Chris Gayle 2/34) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 147/8 in 20 overs ( Saurabh Tiwary 42*, Virat Kohli 35, R Ashwin 3/16, Shadab Jakati 2/21) by 58 runs

Man-of-the-Match: Murali Vijay for a blistering 95 off 52 balls at the head of the innings, contributing to a match-winning opening partnership of 159 with Michael Hussey.

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