Sunday, May 27, 2012

IPL 5 - CSK is my bet

At the outset, I must say I'd bet on CSK. They are a different breed in the big matches, have won before and will be hungry to seal it. For them its as if they are on the home stretch and they will stride in confidently. They are not complacent as they have had a rough season and if anything are on top of their game now. KKR will be on the back foot a bit, being in the finals for the first time, wanting to prove a point and under a bit of pressure already.

The sides are evenly matched though KKR will be without Balaji who is a huge asset in the bowling department. Still Gambhir has enough to trouble the CSK people and he will have to strategise well and execute well to keep CSK under control. CSK has its strong points and its weak links. So let me now go on about how one can go about CSK if one was Gambhir.

One big weakness is the opening pair. If KKR can get two CSK batsmen into the pavilion quickly and keep the pressure on, they can restrict CSK. Murali Vijay may not carry on the same form and it is important to deny him the shots he likes to play. he does not like being bogged down and he can succumb to pressure. That leaves Hussey who will look to play a long innings. Gambhir must attack Hussey and not let him stay along and graft. The first six overs will give him the opportunity. A slow start, and one with wickets lost, will put CSK on the back foot. The key is getting Dhoni early again so there is not too much damage. I'd use Sunil Narine against the other batsmen just because he has more chances to get them out than a Dhoni who adapts well and who watches the ball till it comes on his bat. Narine against Raina, Badrinath and Bravo and the top 2 could yield results. If he can get early wickets with Lee and Kallis, they have got under the skin of the CSK batting and could restrict them to 160-170 if CSK bats first. That would be a gettable total. Anything over 180 will be difficult for KKR to chase.

If KKR bats first they need 180 on the board to win. I'd say CSK will probably chase and chase hard and Dhoni will be hard to stop if he gets up in the order which he will do. All in all, will be a tight match I'd expect but it might tip in CSK's favour in the end.

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