Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has opined that stopping Chennai Super Kings in the big Indian Premier League (IPL) final will be a tough task for whichever team that manages to face them on Sunday, May 27.
Clarke, who led Australia to World Cup glory in 2015, said MS Dhoni's men will upbeat after "getting out of jail" in the thrilling Qualifier 1 against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, May 22 at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
The 37-year-old pointed out that CSK had batted poorly in their three-wicket win and that the two-time champions are unlikely to commit a similiar mistake again in the all-important final of the ongoing 11th edition of the cash-rich league.
After letting West Indies big-hitter Carlos Brathwaite and the Sunrisers run away with the momentum towards the end of the first innings on Tuesday, CSK were reeling at 62 for 6 in chase of 140.
However, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis waged a lone battle, hitting a 42-ball 67 even as wickets were falling at the other end to help CSK complete one of the most stunning comebacks in the ongoing season.
The Chennai-based franchise had needed 43 off their last three overs before Du Plessis and tail-ender Shardul Thakur launched into Brathwaite and Siddharth Kaul in the 18th and 19th over, respectively.
Du Plessis, who was adjudged the Man of the Match, made sure he punished Brathwaite, collecting 20 runs off his over. In the end, CSK won the match with five balls to spare.
Don't know how you beat CSK in the final: Clarke
"I will tell you what. I am not sure how you beat CSK now. The game [Qualifier 1] was over. It was Sunrisers' game to win. CSK get out of jail. I don't know how you beat CSK in the final," Clarke told Star Sports after CSK's win on Tuesday.
He added: "As a team, they batted poorly but still won the game. That's why I feel it's going to be so hard for an opposition team to beat CSK because I can't imagine them batting like that again."
Under chase master Dhoni's guidance, CSK have mastered the art of picking the right moments and the right bowlers to attack. Notably, they have they snatched wins from the jaws of defeat with exceptional consistency in the ongoing season.
Having reached their seventh final, CSK are certainly favorites to lift their third IPL trophy coming Sunday.
Dhoni seems a determined man this season. The skipper was as nonchalant as anyone could be when he was asked to share his feeling after what was yet another last-over thriller in this year's edition. As usual, he was calm and composed and said his team is focussing on the process.
"I'm always happy whenever we win a game. The process is more important. Being in top two gives more liberty of having one more game. If we would've lost this game, still you give yourself a second chance," Dhoni said.