IPL 2013: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians – Live IPL Score
Just a stone’s throw away from the Delhi Police headquarters, where the poking and prodding into the IPL’s backstage shenanigans is being engineered with increased intensity, the Ferozeshah Kotla resembles a bubble universe.
Here, everybody has a mask on. This is the area under the spotlight which will be open to the public glare when Mumbai Indians face Chennai Super Kings in the first Qualifier. Here, the spot-fixing shame can be spoken about only in whispers or the occasional sneer, and where the show must go on at all costs come Tuesday.
It’s an unenviable task. Ask any of the players, who went about their training routines in the searing mid-afternoon Monday heat, and all talk of corruption, police chasing fixers and bookies, team morale or tournament credibility is likely to be dismissed with a wave of the hand. Here, going by appearances, nothing ever happened to disrupt the big T20 party.
Pretensions, though, can only go so far. For one, there are new Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) officers assigned to the remaining four franchises, as promised by the BCCI. MI and CSK have already been assigned an officer each who will stay and travel with the team and work with its security-in-charge, and the same will go for Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers, who play the Eliminator here on Wednesday.
On the eve of what people are referring to as the “dry run for the final” – the loser here gets one more shot at the title, courtesy the second qualifier in Kolkata – some questions were bound to be raised, no matter how uncomfortable. CSK coach Stephen Fleming, for one, tried to veer the discussion away from the controversies to the cricket as deftly as he could.
“It’s very disappointing,” he said of the spot-fixing bust, “The standard of cricket in the IPL has been excellent. It’s a pity it’s being overshadowed…we’ve got one week now to push aside some of the events. We want the IPL to finish on a high. Forget the rubbish that’s being going on.”
Fleming admitted every mishit, every no-ball, every change in the batting order and every dropped catch was in danger of facing both scrutiny and ridicule. “It’s under suspicion from the outside… you (the players) have to keep in isolation and be the best that you can be. We try to let nothing else crop up in the dressing room. We’d like to win tomorrow.”
Purely in terms of the cricket, this is on paper the tournament’s most explosive match-up. This is a neutral venue and the teams are hoping the Kotla pitch doesn’t upset some plans. MI are desperate for their first title and CSK are the one team which could foul up their plans if they make the final.
MI have also beaten CSK twice this season, the second one by the huge margin of 60 runs, yet CSK handle pressure better and have a bevy of game-changers who can step up a gear. The team that wins will go into the final.