It was a no contest at the 2nd semi-final of the DLF IPL match against Chennai and Punjab. Punjab would have never imagined this kind of a humiliating defeat at the hands of the so called minnows "Chennai". I somehow thought that Punjab went by the theory that they have lost to Chennai on both the occasions during the league phase and this time they will have the last laugh as Chennai cannot win them all the time. I had a feel that Punjab took Chennai a bit lightly. Nothing seemed to work for them right from the word go, except the toss. This is how the action unfolded ...
Kings XI Punjab won the toss and elected to bat, which they thought is the right option as they have this explosive "Shaun Marsh" in their team, but they failed to sense the brilliance of Dhoni's captaincy, who would have ever thought that Murali would be asked to bowl the first over ? What a cricketing brain Dhoni has, none of the Punjab team folks expected this and that's Dhoni. Murali spinned his first ball to Shaun Marsh and that was mercilessly dispatched to the fence, but apart from that boundary I would say, it was a pretty quite over. Then immediately Dhoni shifted gear to his dependable Ntini and Gony, and they know how to please their captain, Ntini produced a beauty to get rid of the in form James Hopes and Punjab were 8 for 1, and little we all know that this is the start of a major top - middle order collapse.
Then came Gony and straight away he removed Sangakara, of course I would like to say, Sangakara removed himself, oh ya, that was a thick edge back to the keeper which went unnoticed by the umpire and also the keeper, Goni was the one who kept on appealing, but Sangakara felt that he should not stand at the crease as he knew that he had nicked it, and he started walking even before the umpire raising his finger. That’s a definite indication of how sportive Sangakara was, hats off to his act, he certainly deserves the "Fair Play" award. Punjab were now 12 - 2 and then came the most expected explosive batsmen, Yuvraj, he does not seem to be in sort and we could see the pressure of the big game creeping on his face, after playing 3 dot balls, Yuvi went for this mighty slash which resulted in Murali taking a splendid catch, wow, what a fielder he is, like a live electric wire, he was absolutely brilliant in taking that catch, Punjab were 28 - 3.
Then the rest of the middle order fell like 9 pins and there was absolutely no major contribution from them, the lower order Mota and Powar provided some entertainment to the Mumbai crowd, but that was not enough as they finished their innings for a poultry 112, which is a no mean total at any form of this era's cricket, and we could read that from the captain of Punjab's face. Their owner Preity Zinta was terribly worried, even though she "acted" as if she is cheering her boys. I don’t know what could be the reason for Priety's worry, is it due to the fact that her team has not performed well or is it the fact that this time she cannot "hug" her boys ;-).
I somewhat feel that Punjab played well all thru the tournament only to get "tight" hugs from that cute little actress. I have my own suspicion on that Sreesanth's crying episode, which I think has nothing to do with Harbajan, he cried only for the fact that Preity Zinta is hugging Bret Lee, Yuvraj, Sangakara but not hugging him and it looks like some one told him that if he cries she will hug him, but instead, Sangakara came to him and hugged him, if you notice that incident carefully, Sreesanth started to cry very badly after Sangakara hugged him, actually he was expecting Preity Zinta there. ;-)
Well, Chennai Super Kings who are already famous for crumbling in chasing a small total as they did against the minnows Bangalore, took the crease with Parthiv and Viduyt, it was not such an electrifying start and also there was no need to have such a start. Chennai lost their 1st wicket of Vidyut when they were at 12, which certainly gave jitter's to all its hard core fans like me, but both Parthiv and Raina toyed the Punjab attack and reached the target well within 15 over’s and its all over for the Punjab team and also for Preity Zinta, a visibly upset Yuvraj gave his post match interview to Arun Lal amidst of a heavy "Booing" from the Mumbai crowd who he has rubbed once in a match played against Mumbai, he quoted then "Thanks for giving your one sided support, and please mind that some of the boys in Punjab too play for India" which did not go well with the Mumbai crowd. Our captain "Cool" Dhoni attributed this success to this team and his boys and as ever he was emotionless.
It’s now time to give the pinch of their own salt to Rajasthan Royals and Chennai is well equipped to throw the next surprise and clinch this IPL cup. May all the good omens be with Chennai and take them to victory today.