Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s power-packed knock sent Pune Warriors India crashing to its eighth defeat in 10 outings in their Pepsi-IPL-VI encounter here on Tuesday.
The Chennai Super Kings skipper’s audacious 45 not out off just 16 deliveries with four fours and three sixes piloted his team to 164 before the nervous home team tripped and fell to reach 127 for nine in reply.
For CSK, Ravindra Jadeja bowled the first over and Albie Morkel the second in a spin-pace gambit. By the time Mohit Sharma completed his three-wicket act, forcing Aaron Finch to nick behind, trapping T. Suman with a ball seaming into the pads off the very next and deceiving Yuvraj Singh with away movement, PWI had lost the plot at the Sahara stadium.
Three run-outs hastened the slide, Suresh Raina’s pick-up and dive to leave Robin Uthappa short of the crease the perfect example of the intensity CSK brought to the middle. With 16 points from 10 games, the Chennai side widened the gap at the top of the table while PWI remained at the bottom with four points from 10 games.
Having a blast
CSK set a challenging target of 165, helped by Dhoni’s blast (45 not out, 16b, 4x4, 3x6). The skipper unleashed his trademark blows while top-scorer Raina (63 not out off 50 balls) kept the fielders busy with placements and sweep shots and giving his partner a major share of the strike.
The aggressive approach and effortless hitting saw the duo add 62 off the last five overs.
After Dhoni opted to bat, Michael Hussey came off second best for once.
The left-hander began with a classic extra-cover drive off leg-spinner Rahul Sharma but soon lost his off-stump, beaten by Kane Richardson’s raw pace. Wriddhiman Saha got down to business with a breathtaking shot off the same bowler, clearing long-off with a sizzling drive on the rise.
Saha fell to an over-ambitious sweep against Rahul, bringing S. Badrinath to the crease in the sixth over — enough time to leave his mark on the game. CSK struggled to 29 for two in six overs and 55 for two in 10.
The PWI attack looked positive and purposeful, sticking to coach Allan Donald’s plan of containment. Bhuvneshwar was simply outstanding in his first spell (3-1-12-0) once again.
Badrinath and Raina fashioned the turnaround, rattling up a half-century stand off 43 balls with a mixture of placements, aggressive running and occasional slogs.
Raina got inside the line to send Richardson over mid-wicket for a six while Badrinath kept dealing in singles at the other end. PWI had matters in control till the 15th over, restricting the visitors to 101.
At this stage, Badrinath (34 off 31 balls) left and Dhoni strode in. The CSK skipper began with an astonishing six over extra-cover off Luke Wright before a slower one from Ashoke Dinda was slog-swept over long-on.
The final ball of the innings from Dinda soared over the sightscreen as Dhoni’s men gained sweet revenge for the shock loss they suffered to PWI at home in their first leg encounter.
Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey b Richardson 5 (8b, 1x4), Wriddhiman Saha lbw b Rahul 13 (15b, 1x4, 1x6), Suresh Raina (not out) 63 (50b, 5x4, 1x6), S. Badrinath c Smith b Wright 34 (31b, 2x4), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 45 (16b, 4x4, 3x6); Extras (lb-2, w-2): 4; Total (for three wkts. in 20 overs): 164.
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Hussey), 2-28 (Saha), 3-103 (Badrinath).
Pune Warriors India bowling: Rahul Sharma 4-0-27-1, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-1-24-0, Kane Richardson 4-0-35-1, Ashoke Dinda 4-0-41-0, Abhishek Nayar 3-0-23-0, Luke Wright 1-0-12-1.
Pune Warriors India: Robin Uthappa (run out) 10 (11b, 1x6), Aaron Finch c Dhoni b Mohit 15 (9b, 2x4, 1x6), Tirumalasetti Suman lbw b Mohit 0 (1b), Yuvraj Singh c Dhoni b Mohit 5 (4b, 1x4), Steve Smith c & b Jadeja 35 (39b, 3x4), Luke Wright (run out) 2 (6b), Abhishek Nayar (run out) 2 (4b), Kane Richardson c Raina b Morris 26 (20b, 2x4, 1x6), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (not out) 24 (24b, 1x4, 1x6), Rahul Sharma c Raina b Bravo 0 (1b), Ashoke Dinda (not out) 2 (2b); Extras (lb-1, w-4, nb-1): 6; Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 127.
Fall of wickets: 1-26 (Finch), 2-26 (Suman), 3-29 (Uthappa), 4-43 (Yuvraj), 5-54 (Wright), 6-61 (Nayar), 7-92 (Smith), 8-118 (Richardson), 9-124 (Rahul).
Chennai Super Kings bowling: Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-26-1, Albie Morkel 3-0-20-0, Mohit Sharma 4-0-21-3, Chris Morris 3-0-21-1, R. Ashwin 2-0-20-0, Dwayne Bravo 4-0-18-1.
Man-of-the-match: M.S. Dhoni.