Pune's chase of 143 falters after loss of early wickets
A strong bowling performance kept the Chennai Super Kings' blemish-less home record in IPL-IV intact, after a 25-run win over Pune Warriors at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Monday.
The victory, Chennai's first in the last three matches, was realised through regular breakthroughs after the home team had set Pune a target of 143.
Albie Morkel (three for 29), R. Ashwin (two for 19) and Doug Bollinger (two for 20) shared the wickets, while Man of the Match Michael Hussey (61, 48b, 6x4, 1x6) added his usual dependable contribution in the first innings.
Pune never recovered from being 40 for four in the mandatory Powerplay in its chase. Morkel struck the first blow when he got Mohnish Mishra to play on, and Ashwin followed suit by castling Jesse Ryder, immediately after having been clouted for a six. Morkel rattled some more timber when he got through the defence of Manish Pandey in the fifth over.
Ashwin's wicket-maiden, which saw the dangerous Robin Uthappa cleaned up for a duck, put Chennai firmly in the driver's seat with the onus of a revival resting on skipper Yuvraj Singh and Mithun Manhas.
The two combined for 38 in 44 balls, before Bollinger came back in the 13th over and extracted an edge from Manhas, which was gratefully accepted by skipper M.S. Dhoni behind the wickets. Pune needed 45 in the last four overs, with five wickets in hand as Yuvraj and Nathan McCullum added 31.
Dhoni missed a stumping of McCullum off Ashwin in the 17th over, but Bollinger conceded just four in the 18th, leaving Pune 37 to win in two overs.
All hopes of a Pune win were snuffed out when Shadab Jakati leapt to hold Yuvraj (34, 43b, 2x4) at extra cover in the penultimate over. Two deliveries later, Rahul Sharma was caught short of his ground trying to steal a bye.
Abhinav Mukund's screaming return from long-on ran out Jerome Taylor, and Bollinger accounted for McCullum with the next delivery as the visiting side's chase ended at 117 for nine.
Earlier, Pune skipper Yuvraj, mindful of the evening dew, sent Chennai in, and restricted it to 142 for six. Pune held the home team back despite a solid start by openers M. Vijay and Michael Hussey.
Hussey was dropped on 28 when Yuvraj missed a high chance at extra cover off Rahul Sharma.
The next over though, bowled by Alfonso Thomas, saw Chennai suffer a double whammy: Vijay (31) top-edging to mid-wicket and new man Suresh Raina (2) trying to make room on the off-side but only getting his furniture disturbed.
Chennai was 66 for two in 10 overs as Hussey and Dhoni got together. They added 52 in 6.4 overs for the third wicket before the skipper's cameo of 26, which included a savage six off Yuvraj, ended with a stumping off leggie Rahul Sharma.
Hussey brought up his fifty in 42 balls with a four off Alfonso, but things took a turn for the worse when both the Aussie and Albie Morkel (0, 4b) departed in the next over.
Yuvraj fluffed his second catch when he dropped S. Anirudha off the bowling of Thomas, but the remaining quota yielded Chennai just 19 runs.
Chennai Super Kings: M. Vijay c N. McCullum b Thomas 31 ( 29b, 2x4, 1x6), M. Hussey c Pandey b Taylor 61 ( 48b, 6x4, 1x6), S. Raina b Thomas 2 ( 4b), M.S. Dhoni st. Uthappa b Rahul 26 ( 21b, 2x4, 1x6), A. Morkel c Ryder b Taylor 0 ( 4b), S. Badrinath (not out) 11 ( 7b, 1x6), S. Anirudha c Uthappa b Taylor 7 ( 7b); Extras (b-1, w-3): 4; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 142.
Fall of wickets: 1-64, 2-66, 3-118, 4-122, 5-123, 6-142.
Pune Warriors bowling: N. McCullum 2-0-12-0, Taylor 4-0-30-3, Thomas 4-0-29-2, Kartik 4-0-29-0, Rahul 4-0-27-1, Yuvraj 2-0-14-0.
Pune Warriors: J. Ryder b Ashwin 15 (11b, 1x4, 1x6), M. Mishra b Morkel 9 (9b, 1x4), M. Pandey b Morkel 12 (9b, 2x4), R. Uthappa b Ashwin 0 (4b), Yuvraj c Jakati b Morkel 34 (43b, 2x4), M. Manhas c Dhoni b Bollinger 20 (23b, 1x6), N. McCullum c Jakati b Bollinger 15 (16b), R. Sharma (run out) 1 (1b), J. Taylor (run out) 2 (1b), M. Kartik (not out) 1 (2b), A. Thomas (not out) 1 (2b); Extras (lb-3, nb-2, w-2): 7; Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 117.
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-27, 3-40, 4-40, 5-78, 6-109, 7-110, 8-114, 9-114.
Chennai Super Kings bowling: A. Morkel 4-0-29-3, Bollinger 4-0-20-2, Ashwin 4-1-19-2, Randiv 4-0-23-0, Raina 2-0-11-0, Jakati 2-0-12-0.
Man-of-the-match: M. Hussey .