Michael Hussey was instrumental in guiding the Chennai Super Kings to a win in the 2015 IPL Qualifier over Bangalore and the veteran batsman has revealed how he negotiated the tricky run chase.
Hussey, who came into the playing XI in place of Brendon McCullum and had a couple of low-key efforts with the bat to kick-start his season, was the cornerstone of their chase with his knock of 56 from 46 balls.
Quick Single: Hussey powers Chennai into IPL final
Speaking to iplt20.com, Hussey revealed the nature of the pitch meant they not only needed a big partnership but also for a batsman to bat himself until the very end.
With skipper MS Dhoni at the crease with him, Hussey had an able partner but the pair knew they couldn’t afford to lose a wicket until they got very close because of the sticky surface.
“It was difficult out there, no question about it,” Hussey admitted.
“We needed someone to bat through the overs and take the team as close as possible. MS (Dhoni) and I were telling each other, ‘We are finding it difficult and it is going to be twice as difficult for the new batsman coming in. So we should just try to stay in and take it as deep as we can’.
“Unfortunately we both didn’t make it until the end but we took it pretty close.”
And they took it quite close alright, adding 47 runs together. Hussey got out after getting to his half-century - he scored 56 from 46, the highest score in the game - but by then they were just 32 short of the win with 21 balls remaining.
Dhoni and Pawan Negi saw the team through to a place in the final, despite the captain losing his wicket with just one more to get.
What also helped Hussey and Dhoni was the low target itself, which meant they weren’t forced to go after it by taking unnecessary risks. What it did entail was some good running between the wickets when the boundaries became more and more difficult to come by and that’s exactly what the pair did.
“It was just about making sure we built a partnership and try to be really busy,” Hussey said.
“It was a difficult wicket to hit on; we had to run really hard between the wickets, constantly look for ones and twos and get the odd boundary away.
“It wasn’t a big total to chase, so we knew if we just kept the positive intent going and take it close, a couple of big ones in the end would get us home.”
Chennai will now play in their sixth IPL final, and take on Mumbai Indians, a team he featured for last year. Hussey was let go by the Indians at the end of the previous season and he now hopes he can lead the Super Kings to a win over his former side.
Interestingly, these two teams had met in the first Qualifier in 2013 as well, with Mumbai losing to Chennai before avenging that loss in the final. Hussey hopes the sequence of events will remain the same even if the results will change.
“I am hoping it sort of works out like 2013 where we beat Mumbai Indians in the first Qualifier to go straight to the final and then lost to them in the final. This time we lost to them in the qualifier and hopefully can turn the tables on them in the final,” he signed off.