Chennai Super Kings may have reached the IPL Eliminator match on tiptoes but there was no ignoring the manner of its progress beyond.
At the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday night, in the aftermath of CSK's resounding 38-run victory over Mumbai Indians, there was little disagreement between both camps on where the contest had turned.
Chennai had been heading for a mediocre total until M.S. Dhoni intervened, his stunning late assault (51 n.o., 20b, 6x4, 2x6) changing the complexion of the game.
The CSK coach Stephen Fleming was unreserved in his praise for the skipper. “He was fantastic, wasn't he? He's been very determined in the last few games in the round robin and it hasn't really gone his way. We're delighted that he came to the fore today of all days,” he said.
“It was crucial that we got up to 160 plus otherwise with that sort of batting line-up Mumbai would've done it quite easily. The last five overs produced 73 runs — that's phenomenal. Quite simply it's the spark from the captain and if that continues we have a real chance in the tournament.”
The Kiwi hastened to add that Michael Hussey and S. Badrinath had played equally vital roles in the win. “These things often go without much credit. You tend to look at the big shots towards the end but the ability to withstand the pressure and then turn it around is also important. They created the platform. It might not have seemed that flattering but if we'd lost any more wickets at two for two then it's a different story.”
Fleming felt the team now needed a similar performance in Friday's encounter against Delhi Daredevils. “We go back to Chennai now, to conditions we know a lot better. We had a good result against Delhi in the last game but we're certainly realistic that a performance like today needs to be replicated. That's not always that easy. Delhi and Kolkata have been the form horses.”
Gracious in defeat
The Mumbai captain Harbhajan Singh, meanwhile, graciously admitted that CSK deserved to win. “We were right in it for the first five overs in each innings but overall Chennai played better cricket than us. Dhoni's knock was the turning point; at that stage the match could've gone anywhere. He batted brilliantly and took the game away from us. If you take out Dhoni's innings, we could have been the winning side.”
Mumbai Indians fined
Mumbai Indians was fined for slow over-rate during Wednesday's IPL eliminator game against Chennai Super Kings here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. The team was deemed guilty of being two overs behind the required rate and as this was skipper Harbhajan Singh's second over-rate offence, this IPL season, he was fined US $40,000.
The other ten members of the playing XI were fined the lesser of $10,000 each or 25 per cent of their respective match fees.