The great Marathas could never capture the crown of Delhi in their proud history. On May 24, 2008, they laid siege again under the leadership of the new Chattrapati – Sachin Tendulkar and it looked as if history was in the making. They were thwarted, however, by the troops recruited from the South (Karthik and Maharoof). Sachin and his men were glorious even in defeat; quite unlike the last big battle the Marathas fought in the northern plains – the humiliating defeat in the third battle of Panipat.
Virender Sehwag and team have kept their semi-final hopes alive and have a good reason to feel confident of making the next stage. For them to get knocked out now, the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings will have to win all their remaining games.
The Daredevils have other positives to take from this game. Their middle and lower-order finally fired and delivered in a situation where they generally tend to crumble and roll over. The dudes of the day were the Delhi middle-order with the exception of Dilshan. Dinesh Karthik was the man of the moment but key contributions came from Tiwary and Maharoof also. In a do-or-die game when the big three failed, these guys got the job done. This win was also their first against somebody who is not a minnow (RCB and DC) in their last 9 games. The team will be in a very positive state of mind should they line up for the semis.
Mumbai lost a thriller for the second game running and have every reason to feel despondent. They also have the harder task of needing to beat both the Royals (quite a proposition) and the Royal Challengers in their two remaining games. But they have been playing good cricket overall and a little bit of luck or pluck could see them through. The veteran presence of Sachin, Sanath and Shaun will come in extremely handy. Yet a word of praise for Mumbai Indians Management.Getting Dwayne Smith and Andre Nel as late additions has been quite a coup. Compare that to the reinforcement jobs done by the CSK (Kapudegara), DC (Chamara Silva) and KKR (Brad Hodge). Getting the big guns is the easier task and making key additions late in the season is the hallmark of well-run teams. Just check the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA – 4 time winners in the last 10 years.
Somehow, Chennai manage to win all their tight games. They were either super lucky or simply super cool in pressure. Whatever it was, they are no longer the same. For the second home game running, they lost a match they were in control of till a very late stage. They have the easier task of just beating the last-placed Chargers but the Super Kings have lately developed a habit of making life difficult for them.
BCCI should also keep a close watch on Shane Warne. He continues to get the best out of his guys. Kamran Akmal and Pankaj Singh came in for this game and made their skipper proud. Employing him in some capacity with Indian Cricket should be priority number one. And make him the coach when Gary Kirsten gets sick of the Indian board. If anyone can make India true world beaters, it is Shane Warne. He has managed to get even Munaf Patel motivated and kicked up.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cishore/2484897597/]