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This team is about consistency. Consistent in performances and consistent the way they write their scripts game after game, year after year. With a history of being slow starters in the IPL and then ‘peaking at the right time’ Chennai Super Kings always seem to have a knack of getting those big performances when required the most.
This year too, they began with a few slow starts, only to go on to make it to the business end and stamp their authority in a tournament that they have almost made their own. With a comprehensive 48-run victory against the Mumbai Indians in Delhi, Chennai Super Kings now hold the record of five appearances in the final of the IPL. This year, much of the credit has to be given to their most consistent batsman Michael Husseywho has been the nucleus for the side. Time and again he has raised his hand up and given the much needed impetus at the top to take CSK to huge totals or chase down targets more often than not.
It came as no surprise on Tuesday that Hussey went to on to register his sixth half century this season and become the highest run-getter for the season. He along with Suresh Raina put up an unbeaten 140-run stand for the second wicket to take CSK to a formidable target of 192 which was always a mountainous task for the Mumbai Indians. With just a step away from lifting their third title, CSK’s most consistent bat, Michael Hussey is eager than ever to lay his hands on the coveted Trophy.
In a chat with IPLT20.com, Hussey talks about his consistent run, the pride of being a Super King, and the final at the Eden Gardens where he just can’t wait to play.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Yet another good day on the field, it has almost become like a habit to score runs for you. Is it tough to cultivate such a good habit?
I am not sure about that but I have to say it was a very good team performance. Murali Vijay started really well and we had a good partnership together in the beginning, and then Suresh Raina came in and continued on. I always believe the key to batting is partnerships and I am glad we got our partnerships going against MI.
You have had a number of partnerships with Suresh Raina. Does the presence of Raina at the other end make batting easier for you?
I really enjoy batting with Raina. He is a fine player and he scores so quickly which takes the pressure off me. We talk together a lot out there as to which bowler we should target and how we should play different situations. We have a good rapport which really helps.
Personally, do you think this is the best you have been striking the ball amongst all IPL seasons?
That is a tough one to answer. I cannot say if it is that way. But it has been good fun to play for CSK and I have really enjoyed it. It has been nice to be able to contribute to certain team wins and get us into the position of being in the grand final. I do not really think too much about how I am going personally. It is more about how much I can contribute to a team win.
What was the talk in the dressing room going into the game against Mumbai Indians?
The talk was to enjoy and do the basics really well which was the main message coming through. We knew it was a big occasion to play against a great team. We have got a lot of experienced players in the dressing room who have played a lot of T20 cricket and they understand what their roles are and it was important that everyone played their role on Tuesday night. We are glad that the plans were executed and we came out winning.
From 69/0 in the first ten overs, getting to 192/1 at the end of twenty overs; was it a plan to start off the innings slow and then get aggressive towards the end?
We would have loved to be close to a hundred in the first ten, but it does not work that way. Mumbai Indians have very good bowlers, so it is not easy to come and smack them around. The plan was to get set and try and dig deep with a partnership so that we could go severe towards the end once we got used to the conditions.
Five out of six times in the finals for CSK; how special is to be a part of yet another final?
It is a great achievement by the team, to make it to the final so many times. Making it yet again this year too is a fantastic feeling. It is just great to be in another final and obviously we want to win. We give ourselves every chance of winning the final.
All set for the final at the Eden Gardens?
Yes! I can’t wait to get there. It is a fantastic opportunity, fantastic occasion and a fantastic ground. I am really looking forward to it. Winning the final is all I care about now. There are three very good teams fighting out there for the final spot, and it is going to be interesting to watch who makes it over the next few days.
732: Runs scored by Michael Hussey in IPL 2013 – second most by any batsman in a single edition of IPL, after Chris Gayle’s 733 in 2012.
414: Runs scored by Suresh Raina against Mumbai Indians in IPL – most by any batsman. He went ahead of Jacques Kallis’ tally of 403 runs.
354: Number of boundaries (fours and sixes) hit by Suresh Raina in IPL. Now only Chris Gayle is ahead of him with 384 boundaries.
86: Runs scored by Michael Hussey in the match – highest individual innings for Chennai Super Kings against Mumbai Indians in IPL. The previous best was Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 83 at the Brabourne Statdium in 2010.
67: Runs scored by Chennai Super Kings in last 5 overs of the match – most by a team against Mumbai Indians in IPL2013. Incidentally there have been six instances of a team scoring 65 or more runs against Mumbai Indians in the last five overs. Four of them have been by Chennai Super Kings.
56: Runs scored by Mumbai Indians in first 6 overs - maximum they have scored in Power Play overs in IPL2013.
28: Number of wickets taken by Dwayne Bravo in IPL2013. He now shares the record of taking most wickets in a single edition of IPL with Lasith Malinga, who had an identical tally in 2011.
21: Number of balls taken by Dwayne Smith to reach his fifty – second fastest by any Mumbai Indians batsman after Kieron Pollard’s 20-ball fifty against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Wankhede on May 13. It equaled the record of fastest fifty against Chennai Super Kings in IPL and was the third fastest fifty in IPL2013.
14: Number of catches taken by Dwayne Bravo in IPL2013 – most by a fielder in a single edition of IPL. AB de Villiers and Rohit Sharma shared the previous record with 13 catches in 2009 and 2012 edition respectively.
9: Number of batsmen who got out caught in Mumbai Indians’ innings. This equaled the IPL record of most such dismissals in a team’s innings.
5: Number of times Chennai Super Kings have reached IPL final. No other team has done this more than twice!
1: Suresh Raina became the first Indian batsman to aggregate 4000 runs in Twenty20 cricket.
1: For the first time Mumbai Indians managed to take only one wicket in an IPL match despite bowling full 20 overs.