Chennai Super Kings took a big step towards the knockout phase of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 with a 12-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad at the JSCA Stadium here on Thursday. Huge factors in the victory were M.S. Dhoni’s blazing 19-ball 63 and Suresh Raina’s aggressive 87.

Asked to bat first, CSK put up 202 for four on the board before stopping the Sunrisers at 191 for seven. Some poor catching in the final overs enabled the Hyderabad team to prolong the game. However, the Sunrisers deserve credit for making it close.

Chasing 203 for victory, Sunrisers had a terrific 88-run opening wicket partnership between skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel. The two showed wonderful attacking instincts in the face of a massive chase.

Dhawan was decisive in his stroke-play while Patel overcame initial problems to settle down and support the skipper.

Then, Patel, on 38, called for a single, but was sent back. Bowler Suresh Raina’s throw from the short covers knocked the stumps over. Thereafter, Sunrisers lost three quick wickets — including that of the big hitting Thisara Perera — for the addition of only 19 runs, pegging back the chase.

Then, Darren Sammy waged a lone battle picking up 50 off 24 balls with two fours and five sixes before losing his leg stump to Jason Holder.

Earlier, Dhoni produced the quickest innings of this tournament with an electrifying 63 off 19 balls, with a four and eight sixes to propel Super Kings to a massive 202 for four after it was asked to bat first.

The CSK innings was all about two contrasting but match-defining knocks. Suresh Raina’s polished 84, his highest score in the tournament, extricated his team from the early setback of losing Murali Vijay.

Michael Hussey helped Raina stabilise the innings, but departed with the total at 45.

Raina was at his best during the third wicket partnership. With Badrinath turning into a mere spectator, the left-hander produced an innings of class, timing and placement. He was delightful to watch as he abandoned the slog for the copybook.

The Sunrisers’ bowlers found it difficult to contain the free-stroking Raina. His 26th half-century enabled CSK to go past 100 runs in 12.5 overs before Badrinath fell trying to force the pace. The two had added 70 runs in 7.5 overs.

Dhoni walked in to thunderous applause of his home crowd, and promptly hit a huge straight six off Duminy.

The crowed lapped it all up as Dhoni went for his big hits and Raina found the gaps with uncanny ability.

Then Dhawan threw the ball to Perera to bowl the 18th over. A straight six was followed by two runs. A full toss was dispatched over the fence. When the ball was dropped short, it flew over backward point for another six. Then came the 101-metre hit to the long-on off the fifth ball, and the last ball bowled short outside the off-stump was upper-cut for six over the square boundary.

The fourth-wicket yielded 60 runs in 4.1 overs.

Dhoni was unstoppable as he continued to plunder runs hoisting two more sixes off Darren Sammy in the final over.

Perera’s 18th over had cost 34 runs and Sammy gave away 19 in the 20th over.

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