| Michael Hussey on way to his 57 not out, in Ranchi, on Saturday. (PTI) |
Ranchi: “I came, I saw, I conquered” — Mahendra Singh Dhoni could borrow this quote from Julius Caesar to aptly describe his Saturday night experience at the JSCA International Stadium, here.
The match started with Dhoni winning the toss and it ended with him smashing an authoritative six over the long-off boundary to score the winning runs. It was Dhoni all the way.
The official count said that the almost-full stadium had 31,000 Dhoni loyalists on the day. But it didn’t seem less than double that number every time the ‘Dhoni chant’ reverberated in the stands.
The Chennai Super Kings won the match against the Brisbane Heat comfortably by eight wickets and 25 balls to spare.
They glided past the 138-run target in the smoothest possible manner to book themselves a semi-final berth. Brisbane, on the other hand, will have to confirm their return tickets after three defeats on the trot.
But such material facts hardly mattered to the fans on Saturday. They were more worried with the possibility that Dhoni might not get to bat as the Super Kings batsmen were playing too good. For once, good seemed bad.
When Suresh Raina (23 off 15 balls) got out off the last ball of the 14th over, as per the batting order of the last match, Subramaniam Badrinath was supposed to come in at No.4. But there was no way Dhoni was going to disappoint his fans and so he walked in.
When Dhoni stepped onto the 22 yards, the Super Kings were exactly 22 runs away from victory. There wasn’t much left for the captain to do. But it isn’t just-like-that that the man commands so much respect. He knows how to make something out of nothing. So, off the five deliveries he got to face, Dhoni extracted a boundary and a six to send the stands into frenzy. They got what they came for.
Michael Hussey won the Man of the Match award for his unbeaten 57-run innings and Murali Vijay too did well with his 27-ball 42. But somehow their good work remained in the shadow.
Overall, the Super Kings proved to be too hot for Brisbane Heat to handle. Had Mohit Sharma not given away 21 runs in the last over of the Brisbane innings, there was no way the Aussie team could reach 137 for seven, their final score.
Brisbane’s heroes were Ben Cutting (42 not out of 25 balls) and Chris Hartley (35 off 32 balls).
For the Super Kings, Ravindra Jadeja was the best bowler, taking two for 18 in his four overs. The bowling attack, which so far in the tournament had been the weak point of the Super Kings, came out with flying colours against Brisbane.
Brisbane appeared to be a team without a plan. The shots they played, and more importantly when they played, defied common sense.
But then, common sense might become an uncommon commodity in such an atmosphere. It Ranchi’s ‘D-day’… Dhoni day that is.