Mumbai Indians delivered yet another morale-crushing defeat on Chennai Super Kings in their DLF-IPL III league match at the Brabourne Stadium here on Thursday.
Sachin Tendulkar and Shikhar Dhawan, determined not to be weighed down by the asking rate of nine an over, stayed ahead of the demanding run rate by galloping at 10 runs in the Power Play overs.
Left-hander Dhawan, chosen ahead of Sanath Jayasuriya for the second time in the competition, dominated the thundering start as the excited home crowd roared in approval.
Dhawan fell to left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati, Saurabh Tiwary to Muttiah Muralitharan and Rajagopal Sathish to Joginder Sharma, but Kieron Pollard struck the ball hard and long for a crucial fourth-wicket stand that produced 39. Eventually, skipper Tendulkar's 72 (52b, 8x4, 1x6) won him the Man-of-the-Match award and his team its fourth victory in five games.
Earlier, the Super Kings batsmen were determined to make amends once Tendulkar asked them to take first strike. After Ryan McLaren conceded just five in the first over of the innings, Matthew Hayden flayed Zaheer Khan for four boundaries in the second.
The burly left-hander took the aerial route between cover and third man for the first three fours before punching the ball straight down the ground for the fourth.
A change of bat from the conventional to mongoose at the sight of Harbhajan Singh in the fourth over turned out to be unlucky as Hayden was trapped leg-before. Parthiv Patel departed soon, losing his off-stump.
Suresh Raina announced his arrival with a front-foot swing off Dwayne Bravo to backward square-leg for a six and followed it up with a square-drive for four. Raina picked up the line quickly to club the Mumbai Indians bowlers to all parts of the ground.
He was well supported by S. Badrinath as they raised 142 for the unbroken third wicket. When Raina was struggling to cope with the muggy conditions, Badrinath demonstrated refreshing creativity and boldness as Super Kings finished at 180, the highest target for the home team in its five matches.
However, Tendulkar ensured that his side won by five wickets and went to the top of the IPL table.
Chennai Super Kings: Parthiv b McLaren 8 (12b, 1x4), M. Hayden lbw b Harbhajan 20 (12b, 4x4), S. Raina (not out) 83 (52b, 7x4, 3x6), S. Badrinath (not out) 55 (45b, 6x4); Extras (lb-4, w-9, nb-1): 14; Total (for two wkts. in 20 overs): 180.
Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-38.
Mumbai Indians bowling: McLaren 4-0-23-1, Zaheer 4-0-45-0, Harbhajan 4-0-25-1, Bravo 4-0-42-0, Malinga 4-0-41-0.
Mumbai Indians: S. Dhawan c Raina b Jakati 56 (34b, 5x4, 2x6), S. Tendulkar c Dhoni b Balaji 72 (52b, 8x4, 1x6), S. Tiwary lbw b Muralitharan 2 (3b), R. Sathish b Joginder 5 (9b), K. Pollard b Muralitharan 20 (9b, 3x4, 1x6), D. Bravo (not out) 11 (7b, 1x6), R. McLaren (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-4, nb-1, w-9): 14; Total (for five wkts. in 19 overs): 181.
Fall of wickets: 1-92, 2-96, 3-120, 4-159, 5-172.
Chennai Super Kings bowling: Morkel 4-0-26-0, Balaji 4-0-47-1, Joginder 2-0-23-1, Jakati 4-0-30-1, Muralitharan 4-0-32-2, Perera 1-0-19-0.