There is nothing as certain as death and taxes and, maybe, CSK victories at Chepauk. The MAC stadium has become a kind of torture chamber in which the batsmen of visiting teams are invariably falling victims to slow pitch conditions. Skipper Dhoni, who is the ‘Superking’ of Chennai, is not a fan of the pitch either. He minced no words in slamming the surface even after his CSK won in a canter and zoomed again to the top of the table at the expense of Shah Rukh Khan’s KKR. This was the team’s 16th IPL win in 17 matches at Chepauk.
“If you look it looks a good wicket to us. But I don’t think we want to play on wickets like these because it becomes too low-scoring and it becomes slightly difficult for our batters to get going. And also what happens is that it’s slightly more difficult if you’re batting first. As the dew comes in, it becomes slightly easier in the second half,” MS Dhoni said after the Tuesday clash of IPL table leaders.
Visitors have been seen failing to pace themselves in slothful pitch conditions and losing early wickets from where the chances of recovery are slim in T20 cricket. Given slices of luck, Andre Russell put up a valiant show to set a target for CSK. He had even injured his wrist while batting and was extremely uncomfortable while farming the strike at the end of the KKR innings.
Dhoni did demonstrate how to pace an innings on such slow pitches in an earlier match in which he starred in the triumph against Kings XI, Punjab. No one else is showing the nous to bat out the early overs and keep the ammunition for the back in T20. Not that it is an easy proposition as T20 demands that batsmen keep striking out.
“I’m happy I performed well, but obviously we’re looking for a better wicket. Nobody wants this type of a wicket. It’s (because of) the soil and heat and you can’t help it. It’s very hot here and the pitch curators are doing their best job to give us a good track. But, at the end of the day you can’t help it,” Dhoni added.
CSK fans are thrilled of course. They had even more reason to feel happy over their team putting one over the Badshah of Bollywood SRK’s team who came to Chennai riding on Russell’s muscle and his big hitting ways. The match was billed as Dhoni’s brain versus Russell’s brawn and brainwork won even on the day that Russell sparkled in a responsible innings in which he anchored KKR’s flailing efforts with the bat.
Sports fans and social media users were also thrilled to see a picture of Shah Rukh Khan on the stadium top tier talking to Dhoni who was standing on the ground below. The image, tweeted by CSK’s official handle, went viral quickly and fans may have taken it as a toast to the sporting occasion on which the great Khan of Bollywood may have bowed to the King of Chepauk for his smart moves in keeping KKR to 108 in 20 overs with pacer Deepak Chahar sparkling as the bowler of the night as he sent down as many as 20 dot balls, the highest ever in the history of the IPL in his 3/20.