Had Very very sappai Laxman been there, Chennai Super Kings would have won. Because of his absence, this happened.
It is to be accepted beyond the slightest of doubts that Hayden and Hussey have left a big hole, not only in the Super Kings' top order, but also in the confidence of the team as a whole. It was not that both these lefty aussies fired together, in fact Hayden was hardly closer to his usual. The batting order minus these two seems extremely brittle, where a bowler can run through the side. The problem is exacerbated with the weird logic of the best batsmen coming lower down the order. In the matches against Deccan Chargers and Rajasthan Royals, Dhoni came at No.6 and in the previous match against Delhi Daredevils, Raina came at No.6. In the shortened format, the best batsmen should be the ones to deal with the bowlers as early as possible. And, we are not playing in Manchester or Lord's where the new ball will talk.
Luckily for the Super Kings, the bottom 4 teams are struggling even more and they are still retaining their position needed to qualify for the semi-finals. But I expect a close fight among Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knightriders and Deccan Chargers for the 4th place for the semis. With the arrival of Akhtar, Kolkata looks a formidable bowling attack with Gul and Ishant to augment. But I am not quite sure about their batting though. Deccan Chargers are filled with players who can turn the match single-handedly: Gibbs, Gilchrist, Afridi and Styris. Rohit Sharma and RP Singh are also decent performers in the line-up.
I should say the IPL has lived up to its expectation and it has not been a damp squib. It might be true that it has reached a plateau now in terms of viewership after the initial days which might pick up again during the knock-out stages, the interest in the match results though has not subsided.