A Win Out Of Self Destruction
Not many will visit this site for a while with the disappointment, but if & when they do, here is a different perspective to the CLT20 that just unfolded this night at the MAC in Chennai.
Two teams in self destruct mode. One had to win. and take the difference of $1.2 million. The night belonged to one of them who believed in themselves, as confessed by their charismatic owner.
Initially it appeared that the nerves of being in finals was haunting Mumbai. Then RCB followed it, for worse. The man with golden arm-ball-wicket-and-hair Malinga hit some lusty blows to up the innings run rate from 6 to 7 that tilted the scales before RCB innings began. The 200+ chases were confined to the Chinnaswamy, as crossing 100 proved to be such a difficult task at the Chidambaram on Sunday. Ownership of that extra $1.2 million was defined a bit earlier by Malinga than he had the ball in his hand. And when he had the ball, he appeared as if he was giving it away to his countryman Dilshan in the first over. No, not to be. That was just a false illusion he was giving the Dynamite Dilshan.
And captain Bhajji showed as to how much he was in the drivers seat by sticking to Malinga for the 3rd over. Luck may be a factor, but it favours the one who works hard and gives credit to God. Bhajji deserved this victory for all these reasons. But dont get me wrong. Just for this CLT20 and for the T20s alone. Perhaps he can even be a captain for the Indian T20 team and can replace a now-appearing-to-be-a-luckless Dhoni. By the way, I still agree with the selectors for dropping him from the ODIs and probably should be dropped for tests too, at least for a while for him to get his hunger back.
Mumbai Indians have finally won a good event after long. But as I mentioned in my previous blog, there was a strong factor in it. Harbhajan's captaincy and Sachin's miss. Each time they won, Harbhajan did not forget to thank his God. Perhaps that made the difference throughout. Just imagine that match against Trinidad & Tobago - how they escaped from destruction off the last ball!
What were other factors coming out from this CLT20?
Yes, internationally, that tag stuck, perhaps still sticking to, the South Africans. With their former coach Ray Jennings at the helm of RCB, how could the Royal Challengers avoid getting stuck with the tag? Otherwise how can one explain the three losses in finals after such great tournaments, and such great heroic performances? So, time for Bangalore's own Venkatesh Prasad to take over?
Though tonight he did not commit many errors, Vettori's captaincy has been most unimaginative in the tournament. When Dilshan was effective in the powerplay overs in the semis, he persisted with an inconsistent Nannes rather than bowling Gayle or even with Kohli right upfront. Captains need to define strategies, not just follow them. Yes we won, two in a row, but imagine if one of the two performing batsmen had an off day on one of those nights in Bangalore? Like tonight? Taking just 2 wickets each in two innings of 20 overs (against South Australia and NSW) and giving away around 420 runs in 40 overs is hardly a certificate for the captain on the field. Bowling changes, and exercising control on the field, won it for Bhajji throughout the tournament, where Vettori failed completely.
All said and done, Kohli appeared to be quite animated, moving on the field and in control. I believe its time for RCB to pass the mantle to him and relieve Vettori to do his best with the ball, and occasionally with the bat too. And that can open up on foreign player slot when Vettori has a bad day or a week.
India get fit!
That was a placard at the Chidambaram stadium at the finals. It was well evident, from sparse crowds (except the semifinals in Bangalore with the home team in it) at Bangalore and Chennai, that the fans were fading away, all thanks to India's poor show in England, consistent injury for international duty but desire to turn up for the club games. A message to the commercially conscious board that you can win this crowd with ease, yet lose them with greater ease! Overdose of micro-mini cricket is bound to be a dampener when the players dont perform well for the national team.
More bad news will follow (for the next IPL) if India does not put up a fit team for the Australian series end of the year and salvage some pride with some wins.
Odds for both situations dont appear to be in our favour, right? With a weak bowling attack for years, Australia regaining lost ground to climb up the ranking ladder (with a tough series win in SL), India has migraines to cure, and, fast. Hurtling down the ranking list, its time for India to get the house in order.
Good Luck India. Hope to see our youngsters perform well against England and taking the flight to Down Under.