Same venue, same opposition and same result. For fans of Mumbai Indians, this was an encore of 2013 – the year Rohit Sharma won his first T20 title, as captain at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. There couldn’t have been a better turnaround in the history of the Indian T20 League than this. Mumbai Indians will forever remember this season as one of the greatest, not because of those four horrible losses right at the start of the tournament, but because of the way they finished. Perhaps, this was the first time in 8 editions that a team placed at the bottom of the table ended up as deserving winners of that glittering piece of gold.
But that leads us to an important question – how did CSK lose? The six-time finalists have won just twice – their last win came in 2011. In the four succeeding years, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians have been engaging in mini battles, with CSK just watching by the sidelines. They may have been the best team across all seasons, but CSK is eventually turning out to be nothing but a bunch of overrated cricketers who just can’t get their act together when it matters.
Let’s try and decode the reasons behind CSK’s grueling loss last night:
1. Strange decision at the toss
Most captains will choose to bat first after winning the toss in a high-pressure game, leave alone a finale. But our dearest MSD probably had other plans when he opted to bowl first. Not that MI were complaining, Rohit would’ve chosen to bat anyway. It was a strange decision, considering the fact that the last time these two teams met, Chennai lost while chasing. They say the battle is half won when you win the toss. Dhoni literally handed over the advantage to the Bollywood boys. The result – a mammoth 202!
2. Absence of Brendon McCullum
Chennai were bolstered by the presence of their most aggressive batsman at the top – Brendon McCullum. His departure left a huge vacuum which was too much for a relatively rusty Michael Hussey. McCullum had been their go-to man in chases like these, along with Dwayne Smith. The fiery duo are capable of chasing anything and everything, as witnessed in the league match at Wankhede. Hussey was good, but not good enough to take his team through, which put additional pressure on Smith, who threw away his wicket in frustration.
3. Loss of momentum
It is safe to say that the only time CSK really had the momentum was in the first over, when Parthiv Patel was run-out by a splendid throw from Faf du Plessis. The remaining 39 overs belonged solely to the Mumbai Indians, who didn’t waste too much time in capitalizing as and when required. CSK’s second chance was probably after MI lost two quick wickets of Rohit and Simmons. Even then, the runs just kept leaking and Dhoni knew straightaway that they were in neck-deep trouble.
4. A MS Dhoni no-show
He may be brilliant behind the stumps with his lightning fast glove work and sharp thinking skills, but MSD with the bat has been a disappointment throughout this season. Bowlers aren’t afraid of him anymore. He’s no longer the batsman who could manufacture those huge sixes at will. A captain leads by example and unfortunately for Chennai, that hasn’t been the case as far as batting was concerned.
Having faith in yourself is one thing, being overconfident is another. Chennai Super Kings have always believed in their potential and the result is there for everyone to see. There isn’t a more consistent team than CSK. But this year, they somehow made it to the finals, despite some of their star players not performing. Dhoni’s tactics in the final were questionable – bowling an out-of-form Ravindra Jadeja in tandem with another spinner didn’t really pay off. Eventually, underdogs MI made the most of CSK’s overconfidence and stepped up when it really mattered!
Congratulations, Mumbai Indians!