New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a love affair with South Africa. This is where he started Team India's resurrection in September 2007 after the team had earlier in the year been knocked out of the World Cup in the Caribbean. And he wasn't going to let the Stags disturb that equation.
Just as expected, the Super Kings gave the Stags some cricketing lessons. For better or for worse, the IPL every year brings an ensemble of mercenaries playing for their outfits, who are often challenged by a group of domestic players who are used to playing with each other right through the year and therefore are thought to gel better as a unit.
For better or for worse, the IPL every year brings an ensemble of mercenaries playing for their outfits.
But of course gelling as a unit is never enough to win a game and the Super Kings yet again showed just why they are amongst the top two teams in the Champions League to stake a claim to the title.
Everything went according to plan for the Super Kings, who won the toss and elected to bat. Even though the exaggerated nip and bounce did them in initially, they are a team too full of talent and experience to be rattled by these early reverses. S Badrinath led a brilliant counter-attack and was ably supported by Srikkanth Anirudh and Albie Morkel as the Chennai team lifted themselves to 151, with 107 runs coming off the last 10 overs.
The three treated the Stags' bowlers with utter disdain and sent their fielders on a leather hunt. And once the score was up, Chennai's specialist bowlers - Doug Bollinger, Muttiah Muralitharan, R Ashwin, L Balaji and Morkel did the job with ease. MSD's captaincy was spot on. He stuck with his bowlers, gave them the field they wanted and didn't experiment for the heck of it.
The skipper didn't come out to bat because of a flu, and the rapid pace at which his bowlers cleaned up the Stags was probably a result of his directive that they must finish the game before the effect of his dose of medicine goes away. And what a taste of medicine did they give to the Stags!
We had said a day ahead of the game that the Stags will think themselves lucky if they could walk off the field with just their heads held high. Too bad, Jamie 'who' How and his men ran into MSD's demolition team!