Skipper Mahendra Dhoni hailed Subramaniam Badrinath as the “unsung hero” of Chennai’s resurgent 2011 Indian Premier League campaign after the talented right-hander struck an unbeaten half-century in a comfortable eight-wicket win over Pune.
Having batted at four, six and seven in the order across the tournament thus far, Badrinath stepped to the crease at first drop on Wednesday and promptly scored 63 not out as the Super Kings successfully chased down a modest 142-run target to climb to second in the 10-team standings.
Now the 2011 Twenty20 event’s fourth highest run-scorer with 235 runs at an average of 117.50 and 134.28 strike-rate, the 30-year-old has emerged as an underrated force in a team lined with batting stars such as Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Mike Hussey.
“Badrinath is the unsung hero for CSK. He has always contributed, and from every position on the middle order. He got us across the line here for our first win of the year outside of Chennai and I am very happy. This was an important win,” insisted Dhoni. whose side endured a topsy-turvy start to their title defence before two wins on the trot this week.
Earlier Pune captain Yuvraj Singh’s decision to bat first backfired entirely.
Shoddy shot selection and ill-disciplined strokeplay accounted for Pune’s top four batsmen inside the first eight overs as Man of the Match Doug Bollinger landed three key wickets, which left Yuvraj and Robin Uthappa to pick up the pieces.
The home captain and wicketkeeper-batsman dug deep across 62 and 31 respectively, but short on support and overs had to settle on a score at least 30 runs shy of what a true, reasonably quick track demanded.
“I’m feeling pretty good at the moment. The ball is coming out of the hand very well and I am enjoying my cricket. The new ball did a bit, so I just tried to use it,” enthused Australian seamer Bollinger.
Defeated skipper Yuvraj rued Pune’s fourth consecutive loss and demanded better against the Rajasthan Royals come Sunday.
“We didn’t apply ourselves with the bat. We keep making the same mistakes again and again. We lost too many wickets at the start and couldn’t get a good score. We need to bounce back, we need to think about it and not make the same mistakes again and again,” concluded Singh.
Wednesday’s result has Chennai’s title defence back on track thanks to four wins from seven matches, while Pune’s four losses on the trot leaves them languishing at third last on the log. Cricket365