Bravo Dhoni

Elimination Match: Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians, Bangalore, 23rd May 2012.



By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar

Chennai Super Kings 187/5; Mumbai Indians 149/9
(Chennai Super Kings won by 38 runs)

The scorecard of the match is here.

KKR would probably not be very happy. There is a very distinct possibility now of them having to try for their first title against rejuvenated defending champions, clearly fired up and perhaps very close to their best by then, in their backyard.

It wasn’t that MI had never lost an IPL match in Bangalore before this (in 4 years). It wasn’t that CSK were 4-2 in 3 overs when the match began. Or 114-5 in the 16th over (after what had been quite a recovery). It wasn’t that their highest impact batsman was out first ball today. Or that Mumbai were 47-0 before the 5th over ended. Or that the prospect of defending anything against a strong batting line-up with bowlers who had all palpably failed in the league stages was not very inviting.

More than anything else, it was the fact that CSK were setting a target that was their biggest obstacle – as Dhoni said at the toss, he would definitely have fielded because chasing on this pitch has been “easy” (he actually used this word). In the last 2 years itself, 62% of the matches had been won chasing, and if you look at the matches closely, you’d see it’s actually been even easier than that.

This awareness probably drove Dhoni more than anything else when he walked out to bat at 95-3, which would become 114-5, with just 29 balls left. Dhoni produced one of the great T20 innings, as he strove to overcome a handicap with a desperation that brought out his very best. He found power, timing and gaps in the field with breathtaking regularity (and that magnificent helicopter shot too)…and when Bravo at the other end began to do the same, it turned the tide so comprehensively that you could see it with the naked eye.

In the end, this was the biggest achievement of this match – that CSK won the match setting a target on a pitch like this, after the start they had. This is as much proof as possible that the Champions are getting their groove back. 

Here is the match through the Impact Index prism.







Observations:

This is a slightly cruel one perhaps, but the facts suggest that the highest impact player of the match was not Dhoni but Dwayne Bravo. His 33 off 14 balls (Batting IMPACT 3.26) almost matched Dhoni’s batting but he was actually additionally the highest impact bowler in the match for his 2-10 in 3 overs (Bowling IMPACT 4.23 – even higher than his batting). It is not quite right to say that he bowled when the match was won, because MI were always just 2 big overs away from taking charge again. Bravo got Franklin and
Pollard after choking them up. His was also the only all-round performance in the match (except, well, Dhoni’s, who also kept wickets).

MS Dhoni produced his most memorable performance after the World Cup final – his 51 off 20 balls was the highest impact batting performance in the match (5.10) and more than the spectacular assault that characterised it, it was the way he transformed the game in a very short time that made it the most outstanding performance in this year’s IPL (so far). Even with his wicketkeeping and captaincy impact accounted for, he does not cross Bravo on IMPACT tally.

Given how close their IMPACT numbers are, and given that the match turned when they batted in tandem, perhaps it would have been apt to give them the MoM award jointly.

S Badrinath (47 off 39 balls; Batting IMPACT 4.59) and Michael Hussey (49 off 39 balls; 4.75) had a huge role to play in setting this platform for CSK to take off on. They came together with the score at 1 for 2 wickets – a shock start that threatened to end the match very quickly. They both registered a Pressure IMPACT of 1.24 – the only batsmen to successfully absorb the pressure of falling wickets in the match.

Besides the 4 highest impact batting performances coming from CSK, together they also had the highest impact in all batting parameters in the match – Hussey and Badrinath absorbed the most pressure, Dhoni and Bravo had the highest Strike Rate IMPACT – some complementing of skills in a team. Incidentally, the highest two Economy IMPACT performances also came from CSK – Bravo and Jakati.

Dhawal Kulkarni (3-46 in 4 overs; Bowling IMPACT 3.19) had the highest impact for MI – but 4 CSK players had a higher impact than him. Only 4 players from MI managed to cross an IMPACT of 1, while 7 CSK players did so (with 2 of them crossing 5).

Kulkarni and Morkel both registered Pressure Building IMPACT in the match with their quick wickets. Kulkarni reduced CSK to 1 for 2 in the 2nd over of the match. Morkel took wickets of Karthik and Sharma to reduce MI to 77-4 in the 11th over of their innings. They added a lot to the general drama in the match.

CSK had taken the field with 9 tournament-defining players. MI had 4. Looks like CSK may add to that tally yet.

In the end, despite the high thrills and the tension-fraught scrap, this was a thrashing. CSK had a Team IMPACT of 2.44 whereas MI produced 1.07. CSK’s 3rd best performance this IPL, MI’s 3rd-worst. A nice symmetry for two teams that had exactly the same Team IMPACT in IPL 2012 before this match.

CSK proved that they still have a lot left in that tank of theirs, despite actually being nowhere near their best yet. That would be DD’s hope in the next match (preview tomorrow).

For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com.

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