CHENNAI: He came, he saw, he conquered. Veteran Aussie Mike Hussey landed in the city on Thursday, practised on Friday and produced a match-winning innings on Saturday that helped Chennai Super Kings notch up their second victory of the IPL. Royal Challengers Bangalore helped Hussey's cause by dropping him twice, but it doesn't take anything away from the Aussie's effort.
184 was a big ask on this MA Chidambaram track and once RCB lost Tillakaratne Dilshan on the second ball, they were never really in the hunt. Virat Kohli (35 off 28 balls) and AB de Villiers (65 off 44 balls) did try to put up a fight, but the asking rate had already gone beyond 12 by then. Once Kohli got out, there wasn't much hope. CSK won by 21 runs.
Hussey was the backbone of CSK's effort. It's not always easy getting used to the pace of the MA Chidambaram Stadium, but it was hardly an issue for the 36-year-old. He looked as comfortable as anyone else during his unbeaten knock of 83 on a hot Saturday afternoon. He used his feet beautifully to the pacers as well as the spinners and played the anchor's role to perfection as the other CSK batsmen threw their bats around him.
Daniel Vettori was extremely unhappy when Mohammad Kaif dropped Hussey early on at mid-on. Vettori has seen the Aussie play many a match-winning knock and it seemed he knew straightaway that the old pro could run away with the game.
The beauty of Hussey's batting is that runs simply flow. He hardly takes risks, waits for the loose balls and makes use of the opportunities that come his way. There was a time in the middle-overs when Vettori was settling down into a nice rhythm. Even as his partner MS Dhoni struggled just a bit to break the shackles, Hussey played a couple of brutal slog-sweeps that went for sixes and the pressure was immediately released.
The likes of Vijay, Suresh Raina and Dhoni also deserve praise for the way they approached the situation. The boundaries never dried up and that helped CSK get about 20 runs more than the par score on this Chepauk track.