September 28, 2010

Dhoni leads Chennai Super Kings to another triumph


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Wasn’t it in the fitness of things that Mahendra Singh Dhoni, arguably the best present-day captain in world cricket, to lift another crown! He has proved himself an outstanding leader and he showed it once more why he has a league of his own.

Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings, the reigning Indian Premier League champions, completed a double by pocketing the Champions League Twenty20 title at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on September 27. The skipper himself had the satisfaction of hitting the winning boundary.

It was yet another clinical performance by Chennai who outclassed the South African Twenty20 champions, Eastern Cape Warriors, by eight wickets in the final to collect the $2.5 million prize. The Warriors had to be content with a purse of $1.3 million.

The resounding victory in the final confirmed Chennai’s status as the best club team in the world in cricket’s shortest format. After having restricted the local favorites to 128 for seven, they romped home with as many as eight wickets standing.

The wily off-spin of a man called Muttiah Muralitharan (3-16) and the teasing stuff from Man-of-the-Series Ravichandran Ashwin (2-16) broke the back of the Warriors batting. Then the Chennai openers Murali Vijay and Mike Hussey made half-centuries to seal the fate of the game.

“Winning the IPL and now the Champions League, it’s a very emotional moment for us The senior players have really done a good job. The environment has been superb and it can’t get any better than this,” Dhoni observed in his post-match comments.

The captain was full of praise for Ashwin. “He is used to bowling in the Powerplays. He is an aggressive bowler, he has the variety and he is always ready to bowl whenever you throw the ball to him. He wants to perform; he has grown as a player over the last three IPLs,” Dhoni said.

"There is a dressing room to show your emotions. As a captain, you are as good as your side. This is a very good bunch of people and as a captain you just want to channel all the energy into the same direction. The players put in great effort and frankly it feels very good to be the captain of Chennai Super Kings," he added.

"It’s indeed a very emotional moment. It’s the last game for many of us players as a team. However much you try, we can't retain all. These three years were great; we played good cricket. You develop a special bonding with each other. The dressing room atmosphere was great; not everybody could get a game but there was no ill feeling. Every one enjoyed each other's company. To end on a high feels really special," the triumphant skipper remarked.

Dhoni’s inspirational captaincy played a major role in the success of Chennai and his bowling changes and field placements remained spot-on although some of his moves were debated by the commentators.

"Dhoni that way takes lot of pressure off himself and he is someone who makes his players feel very secure. He is not a guy that you see outwardly making brilliant moves but he is quietly he is always encouraging his bowlers. When a bowler is hit for a six and if he has bowled a good ball, you will quietly see Dhoni applauding the bowler. That's all the bowler needs; that his captain has approved that ball," Sanjay Manjrekar, a former Indian batsman, complimented.


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