Super Kings off to a royal beginning

cricket blogs for Yahoo Cricket Columns

My heartiest congratulations to the Chennai Super Kings for having
kicked off their IPL campaign in thunderous style. Cricketers thrive on
confidence and a good start is of paramount importance to the finest

It would only be stating the obvious if I were to say
Mike Hussey played a sensational innings. What stood out was the
calmness with which he proceeded. Even after the fall of Dhoni he
remained unperturbed and his clarity of thinking sets him apart from
the rest. His shot selection was immaculate and he was able to hit
through the line, not hitting across wildly. It was a devastating
innings yet there was very little risk involved. 

The only time
I thought when the Super Kings dressing room, or should I call it
dug-out, would have been shaken was when Dhoni was dismissed. At 62/3,
no one would have envisaged a score in excess of 200. Suresh Raina
looked like he was having a net while S. Badrinath made all the
difference between a healthy total and one that could not be surpassed.
Badri's knock was crucial, he rotated the strike for the first few
minutes he was in and then took charge, and all this happened within a
few minutes. His ability to adapt was phenomenal. 

Dhoni and
his men would have certainly thought 241 was a target that was
insurmountable but James Hopes and later Sangakkara kept them in the
hunt with some very effective hitting. To their credit, the Super Kings
maintained a positive body language. Their shoulders never drooped even
under the ferocious onslaught. A few catches may have missed their
clutches but the effort was always there.

I have always
maintained spinners have a role to play in all formats. One has to look
at wickets consistently to keep the run flow down and who better than
Muralitharan to provide them. His last two overs made the difference in
terms of margin. It was a closer game than the scorecard would suggest.
Murali will have a pivotal role to play in the tournament.

big bonus for the Super Kings was Amarnath coming back. His wicket of
Hopes at a crucial juncture shut out the game. It showed the youngster
has it in him to succeed even against batsmen of international quality.
I can only see him become better with experience. His catch off Yuvraj
Singh was special. Taking skiers under lights can be very difficult,
however easy they may seem to be on television. Amaranth maintained
composure. If Yuvraj was to stay for another 15 minutes things would
have got extremely tight.

With the next two games at home, the
Chennai outfit could not have asked for anything better. They have to
build on this win and keep marching forward. International players will
come and go. Like all teams, Chennai will also lose a few players at
some juncture during the event but it is important to keep the momentum
going with what they have.