The finale battle was always going to be one between a supremely balanced outfit and a challenging but not dominant opposition. Having said that, the scales can easily tilt in any one direction in a 20-20 battle.
That wasn’t to be though as favourites and IPL champions Chennai Super Kings crushed the Warriors to deservingly lift the Champions League T20 trophy. While the Warriors can be proud of themselves for having surprised many and coming thus far, the lack of depth in their batting and inadequate support for spinner Johan Botha did them in at the final hurdle.
Conversely, Chennai had the ammunition to recover even after getting off to a poor start and once on top ensured they stayed there till the end, like champion teams do.
For Warriors to have a fair chance of winning, they needed their skipper Davy Jacobs to be in top form yet again. And the way things began would have made the home team rather optimistic. The dashing opener plundered quite a few boundaries to give his side the early advantage.
However, the challenge did not last long enough to trouble Chennai. As on so many previous occasions, it was the off-spin of the lanky Ravichandran Ashwin that did the trick. Once Jacobs failed to connect a reverse sweep off Ashwin, it all went downhill for Warriors.
The middle-order batting was always a worry for Warriors, and it was mainly due to Jacobs that they managed to get this far despite the batting failures. And although his contribution in the final can by no means be considered a failure, he was bound a get a lower score.
Unfortunate for the skipper and his team that it had to come on the big day. It was also sad to see that Craig Thyssen apart, no one made a decent contribution with the bat after the departure of their inspirational skipper. The batting woes of Warriors all but set up a disappointing one-sided final. Surely the Chennai Super Kings couldn’t flounder considering the kind of form they were in and the commanding batting line-up they possessed.
Like with their batting, a similar tale was retold with the Warriors’ bowling. Johan Botha held one up end and did not allow the runs to leak. But, they was little support from the others. The early breakthrough never came and, as a result, the Super Kings did not have to take any sort of risk when Botha came into the attack. He was seen off watchfully.
A couple of wickets were claimed, but that was hardly some consolation. The writing was on the wall much before then. Chennai openers Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay had yet another match-winning partnership to offer. The left-hand right hand combination have complemented each other perfectly in the series and the final was no different.
While Vijay went for the big strokes, Hussey was content playing the anchor even whilst scoring at a brisk pace. Such was the magnitude of their opening stand that the services of semi-final hero were hardly needed, and he ended up with a failure he wouldn’t bother about.
Even though the Chennai openers set up the victory charge perfectly for their side, it was undoubtedly the spinners who put them on the road for victory. While Ashwin made the crucial strike, it was Muralitharan who ensured the advantage was completely capitalised, destroying the middle-order and nullifying Warriors’ advantage of winning the toss.
The others just had to do the support role as Chennai marched to their second consecutive T20 title, adding to the IPL glory. It was another feather in M S Dhoni’s cap and should silence doubts over his captaincy credentials, if there still are any.
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