IPL 2018 | Four things we learnt from CSK vs SRH ft. Kane Williamson and MS Dhoni

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IPL 2018 | Four things we learnt from CSK vs SRH ft. Kane Williamson and MS Dhoni

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Bastab K Parida


Another IPL and another final for CSK. The team literally tested their fans’ patience to the limit and thanks to Faf du Plessis’ brilliant half-century, the team entered their seventh final. However, Kane Williamson’s questionable captaincy put Sunrisers’ fortunes ahead of second qualifier in doubt.

Lungi Ngidi is destined for greater things

When Chennai Super Kings picked Lungi Ngidi at the mega-auction, the speedster was basically seen as a backup in case of injury. And Deepak Chahar’s injury in the halfway mark of the campaign meant Ngidi got a chance to prove his worth in the team and he has been brilliant for the team so far. 

He and Chahar made a potent pair for the team, and with a solid presence. In CSK’s last league game, with the Pune wicket giving assistance to the pacers like anything, Ngidi saw his luck smiling and bowled one dream spell to knock Punjab out of the tournament. Today, he steamed in and bowled with panache while nailing those outswingers almost perfectly. However, the most important aspect of his bowling was the way he mixed the type of deliveries. Knowing the ball wasn’t coming onto the bat easily, he mixed them beautifully to confuse the batsmen and returned with a figure of 1 for 20 in the match.

He kept bowling at the uncomfortable short-of-good-length region that made him so difficult to get away. And it is an established fact that both short of good length and back of length balls have always been a better option in Mumbai, and Ngidi just understood it better. 

Having a pinch hitter in the middle order is always better

Turn the clock back to March 2016 when Carlos Brathwaite hit Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes to win the T20 World Cup for West Indies and the Barbadian, from an oblivious name in international cricket, had become a household name instantly. Although he failed to replicate the exact same performance in the following months, he was never written off due to the mercurial nature of the Caribbean players and today he underlined his importance in the set-up with surreal pinch hitting.

Last week, the absence of Yusuf Pathan in a run chase against Royal Challengers Bangalore, opened up a spot lower down for allrounder Brathwaite. The Windies player was not only an extra bowling option, but he could contribute to the team’s cause with the bat and that was exactly where his importance lies. While he failed against RCB, Wankhede's square boundaries helped him get going from the onset and he put up an exhibition to bail the league table toppers out of the soup. Most importantly, his innings came as a refreshing change in SRH’s sagging fortunes as the team managed to put up a formidable total of 139 runs in 20 overs.

Understanding Dhoni’s tactics: Error 404 Not found

MS Dhoni and the way he manages the chaos has been a story written so many times to be repeated here, but the way he pulls one move out of the hat after another has been a stuff of the legend. In CSK’s last league game against KXIP, MS Dhoni defied conventional wisdom by sending Harbhajan Singh at No. 5, followed by Deepak Chahar at 6 and all this ahead of him. He had later justified his move by saying he wanted to confuse the Punjab team with his batting order. 

While the bizarre batting order was surprising, the former Indian skipper pulled off one more surprising move today. Although CSK bowlers bowled really well and didn’t allow the batsmen to open the arms, Dhoni didn’t give a single over to Harbhajan Singh, which was downright surprising. What was going on in Dhoni’s mind when changing the ends of the bowlers? He is the best person to answer. 

Kane Williamson’s defensive captaincy cost SRH the game

Throughout the tournament, if there was one team who made the world sit up and take notice, it was Sunrisers Hyderabad. The team had absolutely been spot on with their tactics and that became mostly possible due to the fireworks provided by Kane Williamson and the brilliant bowling unit led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. However, if one thing that came out to the fore today, it was the defensive captaincy by the Kiwi talisman.

When CSK were reduced to 92/7 in 15 overs, Williamson, instead of going for a kill, decided to keep a defensive fieldset despite Kaul bowling more back of length ones than the short of good length balls. However, it seemed like the plan to drag the game down to the last over, just the way Delhi Daredevils did to CSK in the latter’s penultimate league game of the season. But, it is a fact to be noted that Faf du Plessis has all the experience in the world to score 12 runs an over in the last three overs and it was sheer foolishness on the SRH skipper’s part to bowl Carlos Brathwaite the 18th over.

While the over changed the course of the match in a flash, for some reasons only known to Williamson, he gave the ball to Siddarth Kaul to bowl the penultimate over of the match - arguably the most decisive over in the match - at a time the logical decision would have been to give the ball to Bhuvneshwar. The questionable decisions have now put more pressure on SRH going ahead as the team will now have to face the winner of Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals in Kolkata, just two days ahead of the final. If they get to face KKR in the second qualifier, it will be all the more difficult for them, given the form that the Shahrukh Khan-owned franchise now find themselves in. 

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