Dubai: Glory days are back for Chennai Super Kings. The Yellow Lions have returned to their fortress at a refurbished Chepauk, which can hold a full house after more than 10 years, and offers a ‘classic pitch’ that promises to make the game interesting.
Super Kings sneaking to a 12-run win in the high-scoring contest has brought back fond memories. For the number of fans, present inside and outside the stadium, the Chennai fortress has not been breached and the Super Kings have kept their winning record intact despite playing at the venue after a four-year break. The wait, however, was worth its weight in gold.
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The batters were able to play their shots with great freedom, while the pacers and spinners got enough purchase. That’s the classic Chennai wicket of the past. The surface has changed to a great deal since the start of the new millennium and not many would remember the great contests that had taken place on it, including the tied Test in 1987 between India and Australia and Pakistan beating India by a narrow margin in 1999.
Since 2000 the white-looking surface has given way to the red-natured wicket that was more suited for the spinners, turning and staying low. This new wicket is the main reason for the big scores in the Indian Premier League contest between Super Kings and the Lucknow Super Giants. The match could have gone either way until the last over, that is the hallmark of the Chepauk pitch.
Early in the contest, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took to Twitter to predict a “High-scoring thriller? This a chepauk wicket from the past. Wow.”
Dream come true
It turned out to be true, and must have kept the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats. The match for the first time was witnessed by a full attendance. For almost a decade after three stands were closed due to the legal troubles, but now a revamped ultra-modern pavilion and the terrace stand must have made the viewing even more enjoyable.
It was a dream come true for England allrounder Moeen Ali to play his first match at the venue, in front of passionate crowd, and making it count with a four-wicket spell that turned the match in Chennai’s favour.
But fan-favourite Chennai skipper clearly showed that he was not pleased with the performance of the pacers, even threatening to quit as a captain should they bowl so many wides and no balls. His words should have come in a dampener for the crowd who were screaming during the prize presentation. Still, he is the king of Chepauk and has won many a battles to keep the citadel intact, and these close contests have only made them win four titles.