I write this post a few hours after the Super Kings utterly and completely demolished the toast of 2012, the Delhi Daredevils. Delhi did everything right until this point of the tournament and then ran into the den of the Super Kings. The rest as they say in IPL lore, is history.
The Chennai Super Kings, representing the city of Chennai and the state of Tamil Nadu has been the toast of IPL since its inception. After losing the finals in the last ball to Warne’s Royals, Dhoni’s men lost in the semi’s in IPL 2 held in South Africa. Before people started wondering if the team had lost its lustre, the lions came back roaring to take IPL3 and IPL4. At this point, no other team has achieved the kind of record the Super Kings have piled up. They have added new blood- both local and international and dropped reliable old ones like Murali and Hayden. With the exception of Dhoni, Raina and a few local lads, much of the team has changed in the last 5 years. What hasnt is their ability to pull off the unthinkable. A determination and drive to win when it matters. During the league games this year, as in the past couple of years, the team has appeared disinterested, disjoint and unmotivated. But as the games that mattered started coming up, the team just pulled its socks together and did what it was expected to do- go out and win. They have had luck on their side, improbable last ball wins and everything else that it takes to win. It doesnt really matter what the final outcome is. SRK’s team has the ability to shut down the Lions but that would be after 4 lousy years with nothing to show for, but ads and stars- both on and off the field. Dhoni’s team will live as the team that you can expect to make it and that alone has been worth this year’s campaign.
There are lot of sceptics and I can see the reason. The BCCI head honcho, N.Srinivasan, also happens to own the Super Kings. That is as obvious a conflict of interest as it gets. There has also been talk and some proof that match and spot fixing happens in IPL. But here is my question to critics and nay sayers- even if N.Srinivasan is all powerful, how do you convince 7 other equally rich if not richer owners to get their teams to tank. Do you think Mallya and SRK and the Ambanis would prefer money over the title?
And how does one go about fixing 5 years of IPL. The sheer statistical improbability of fixing as many matches and getting as many people on the payroll is mind-boggling. So while I think there is quite a bit of shady stuff going on with IPL and a reasonable amount of spot fixing driven by huge bets, I dont think N.Srinivasan is big enough to manipulate years worth of games. You can get a bowler to bowl a full toss in the last ball but how do you fix to get your batsman to knock it out of the park?
Until then of course, we will have Dhoni’s lions. They give you all the entertainment that IPL is supposed to deliver. In spades. Every single year.