The Super Kings were clinical in the key moments of their clash against the Deccan Chargers, claiming a 19-run victory in Chennai to boost the defending champions into the top four of the competition.
MS Dhoni’s side ruthlessly smashed 69 runs from their last five overs to post 165 for six – of which Suresh Raina contributed 59 runs. Sunny Sohal’s half-century then set the Chargers off to a flying start but Chennai held their nerve with the ball, claiming six Deccan wickets for just 36 runs to leave the visitors stranded at 148 for eight after their full 20 overs.
In a captaincy repeat of this year’s World Cup final Kumar Sangakkara took his troops to Chennai where Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first.
The home side made two changes to their four-man foreign brigade as Albie Morkel and Suraj Randiv replaced Nuwan Kulasekara and Tim Southee. For Deccan there were three changes – Harmeet Singh, Pragyan Ojha and JP Duminy included, with the surprise omission of Proteas paceman Dale Steyn.
Ojha justified his selection as he struck early to remove Chennai opener Murali Vijay (3), but two balls later the left-arm spinner was left less than amused by Cameron White’s dropped catch at square leg, gifting his compatriot Mike Hussey a life on 10.
Hussey would make Deccan pay with a typical innings, as he and Raina shared 60 runs before the Australian succumbed to a weak pull shot to be out for 46 from 41 deliveries.
Dhoni entered and along with Raina moved the score along to 96 for two, before the captain signalled the beginning the late onslaught with a six off Amit Mishra in the 16th over.
Raina followed his skipper’s lead and went to his half-century from 31 deliveries, before blasting another six and then perishing for the cause as he holed out to give Ojha a second wicket.
With full momentum and an abundance of hitters down the order, the Super Kings continued to pillage their way through the dying overs, Albie Morkel was particularly severe on Ishant Sharma, clubbing three consecutive sixes before departing for 19 from just six balls.
Dhoni (21) himself was stumped in the final over – Ojha removing his captain to finish with three for 26, as the home side posted a healthy total at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
In response Deccan picked up where their hosts had left off with the bat thanks to Sohal. Six fours and fours sixes made up his 30-ball knock before he played a ridiculous attempted reverse-sweep to be on his way for 56. He was the first to depart with the total on 71 for one, opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (19) next to go as he too was bowled by Shadab Jakati.
Bharat Chipli (17) and Sangakkara (15) moved the total along to 110 for two before Chipli chipped tamely to mid-wicket. The captain followed soon after with a lame paddle resulting in his stumps being dismantled by Doug Bollinger, and man-of-the-match Morkel returned to snuff out the challenge of White (13) and Duminy (17) as the visitors run-chase collapsed in a heap.
Morkel would end with figures of three for 38, while Bollinger bagged two for 26 and Jakati two for 23. The result sees Deccan remain in sixth place while the defending champions move up into fourth on the IPL table. Cricket365