Kris Srikkanth

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Partnerships important even in T20

It was heartening to see the Chennai crowd get full value for
their money. Everyone who had descended on the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium
would have left satisfied. More than 400 runs and a result in favour of
the home side, and the spectators could not have asked for more. There
have been a few high scoring games in the IPL so far, but nothing comes
close to this in terms of excitement provided.

Whatever the
format, the match stressed the importance of partnerships. Super Kings
prospered on this count while the visitors failed to get a decent stand
at the top, and that contributed to their loss. Mathew Hayden and
Suresh Raina played a pivotal role in the win no doubt but what made
the difference was Hayden's approach. The Australian was content giving
the strike to Raina. It is not often we see a senior partner do this
but to Hayden's credit he allowed Raina to flower in the partnership.
It is important in Twenty20 for both batsmen to maintain momentum and
that is precisely what the duo did.

Just as Super Kings were
helped by big runs at the top, the Mumbai Indians were let down by the
lack of a sound start and the inability to put together a big
partnership cost them dear. The stands Abhishek Nayyar shared with
Dwayne Bravo first and later with Harbhajan Singh would have put the
Super Kings' hearts in their mouth. If they had taken better advantage
of the field restrictions earlier it would well have been a dif ferent
story. Losing wickets at regular intervals did not help their cause
either.

Harbhajan Singh missed a few tricks with his
captaincy. Shaun Pollock and the skipper himself were the two most
experienced bowlers in the team and why they did not bowl their full
quota is anybody's guess. The off-spinner did not do badly in the first
two overs and Pollock with his experience could have done better in the
death. The runs Chennai managed in the last five overs proved crucial.

The
hosts too, did not get their act together with the ball. P. Amarnath
and Jacob Oram let the pressure get to them. But Manpreet Gony was
outstanding. Extracting bounce off the surface he made life
disconcerting for the openers. His tight spell during the power play
was the one that won the game for the Kings.

Gony's maturity was striking. He never allowed width outside the offstump to Sanath Jayasuriya.

Bowlers
with far better experience and pedigree have failed to contain the Sri
Lankan but to Gony's credit he came away unscathed.

Bowling continues to be one area where the Kings continue to be thin.

The entry of Makhaya Nitini and Morne Morkel should alter that a fair deal.

Republished with permission from The Asian Age

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