Before the third match of the Indian Premier League 2014 between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab started not many would have hoped for such a thrilling game considering the low standing of the latter. However, what unfolded on 18 April 2014 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium was an upset of monumental proportions even as the Mohali team, facing a seemingly insurmountable total, upset the CSK applecart comfortably with 6 wickets and more than an over remaining.
Team composition: Chennai opted for a balanced team with its overseas players being Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo. Punjab went in with a batting and quick bowling heavy team that featured Glenn Maxwell, skipper George Bailey, David Miller and Mitchell Johnson as the 4 overseas players.
Batting: Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Chennai ran up a score of 205 for the loss of just 4 wickets. The lion’s share of the runs came from the blades of openers Dwayne Smith (66 from 43 balls) and Brendon McCullum (67 from 45 balls). Raina and Dhoni also made some handy contributions to boost the total in the end.
If Kings XI was to get close to the total or even win it, one would have hoped Maxwell and Miller to do the job for them, considering their reputations as big hitters, and that is what exactly happened. While Maxwell went ballistic with 95 from 43 balls, Miller (54 from 37) kept him company and ensured that the scoring rate never dropped.
Bowling: In all, this was a day to forget for the bowlers. In the first innings L Balaji (2 for 43), Akshar Patel (1 for 34) and Parvinder Awana (1 for 35 from 3) were the successful bowlers. But the rest including Johnson, Dhawan and Maxwell were taken for runs and that too, plenty of them! The story was similar when Punjab batted. Ashwin picked up 2 for 41 and Dwayne Smith (1 for 25 from 2 overs) and Ashish Nehra (1 for 24 from 3) tried their best but the failure Mohit Sharma, Pawan Negi and Ravindra Jadeja to take wickets and contain runs had a telling effect on the team’s fortunes in the end.
Where do the teams go from here?
One thing is for sure. Both the teams will need to work on their bowling and make sure that their performance of the first match is not repeated. Chennai might need to rethink their team combination a little bit. If they are not going to depend on Faf du Plessis as a batsman then they could think of alternative all round options such as John Hastings. Or, they could also think of leaving out Negi and playing a quick bowler like Ishwar Pandey to bolster their bowling.