The Chennai Super Kings are the emperors of India.
In the battlefield called Chepauk, Dhoni’s army ambushed the Royal Challengers to defend the citadel they had clinched in Mumbai last year. The Chennai mean machine started working from Ball One with M Vijay (95 off 52 balls) and Mike Hussey (63 off 45 balls) taking over and there was no looking back.
Vijay never looked good throughout the tournament, but Dhoni stuck with him. And what a day the Chennai boy chose to come good! The right-hander, in an outstanding opening partnership of 159 runs off 14.5 overs with Mike Hussey (63), did the groundwork and built some towers on it for good measure as CSK raced away to 205.
One man who could make a match out of it was Chris Gayle. But the shrewd Dhoni brought R Ashwin in the first over and the offie got the first two balls to turn away from the left-hander. Then came the killer ball which spun in and Gayle, on the back-foot, edged it to Dhoni.
After that, it was just a matter of keeping it tight as Royal Challengers kept losing wickets at regular intervals to go down by 58 runs.
But this final will be remembered by one and all for the way Vijay batted. He is highly rated and on Super Saturday he showed why. Shots were flowing from his bat like a stream as RCB skipper Daniel Vettori simply ran out of options. The crucial phase was when Vettori brought himself on, but Vijay showed excellent temperament. Vijay has the gift of timing and it was all so flawless on Saturday evening that a champion performer like Zaheer Khan looked helpless. And while Vijay was giving the fans all the reasons to cheer about, Hussey played the role of the guiding light to perfection.
In the humidity of Chennai, it’s not easy to keep it going, but the two kept pushing each other. Even the strategic time-out, which is generally taken after the 16th over, was brilliantly timed. Hussey and Vijay took it after the 13th to get their breath back and carried on with the onslaught.
As the runs flowed, the shoulders drooped in the RCB ranks with misfields and overthrows creeping in. It all added to the Royal woes and finally, when Hussey got out trying to clear the long-on boundary, the game was all but over. One would have loved to see Vijay completing his second IPL century, but that was not to be. He got out in the 17th over, trying to clear the fence, but that didn’t stop CSK from easing past the 200-run mark.
In another couple of hours, they lifted the trophy as Chepauk sank in the sea of yellow.