Four balls into the Bangalore innings, and Ravichandran Ashwin was at the receiving end of rugby-style tackles from his team-mates. The off-spinner had managed to dismiss Chris Gayle for a duck and if the cheers of the crowd were anything to go by, the trophy already belonged to the ‘Whistle Podu’ brigade.
The reason for that confidence had a lot to do with the total Chennai had managed to put on board. Powered by Murali Vijay’s 52-ball 95 and Michael Hussey’s 63 of 45 balls, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side smashed their way to 205, the third-highest total in this IPL and the highest in the IPL finals.
And in a ground where the highest chased total was 170, Chennai had truly managed to ace the test. Only once in IPL history has a team chased more than 205 to win – Rajasthan made 217 v Deccan in 2008. At the MA Chidambaram stadium, the task was even tougher and when Gayle was sent back to the pavilion early, it was curtains.
The big West Indian had scored 34 percent of all the runs that have come off the bats of the Bangalore batsmen and RCB needed him to fire. But on the biggest night, he failed. Indeed, such is fate.
But the gods often favour the brave. Vijay, was not only brave but intelligent too. The tournament, to this point, had been a forgettable one for him but he got it together when it mattered.
He started off with quick ones and twos, graduated to fours midway and by the time he was through, he was dealing in boundaries. The Chennai heat took a toll on him but not for one moment did he back down. Hussey, at the other end, played the perfect second fiddle.
The left-right partnership never let the bowlers settle and their intensity was such that it could be seen that they would never settle for anything other than a win. It turned out to be a pretty easy 58-run one too.
“There was a twinkle in his eyes as we walked out to bat,” Hussey later said about Vijay. “He wanted to do something special. Just watching him bat from the other end was great.”
The 159-run stand was Chennai’s best opening stand of this edition and by the end of the 10th over, they had cruised to 94 for no loss. Vijay’s 50 had come off just 29 balls.
By this time, RCB looked like a team that had already accepted defeat. Their skipper Daniel Vettori was throwing his hands up in exasperation almost every time CSK hit a big shot. They were stunned by the cool ferocity of the defending champions.
When RCB came out to bat, they were nervous; they were afraid. A team that holds the Orange Cap has never won the IPL – that’s probably because so much depends on one player that if he fails, then the team fails too.
And when Gayle departed early, it broke whatever little spirit RCB had remaining. There’s also no denying the fact that Bangalore did look a little jaded. Perhaps a day’s rest would have helped. Perhaps…
But for now, all we can do is celebrate the IPL’s first dynasty. Chennai made the final in the first edition, the semi-finals in the second, won the third and have now won another. If this isn’t a legacy, nothing is.
Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 205/5 (20/20 ov), Bangalore 147/8 (20/20 ov)
Chennai Super Kings won by 58 runs