Chennai demonstrated the importance of mastering the third discipline – fielding – as their great effort in the field secured a 25-run win over the Pune Warriors in Monday’s Indian Premier League clash.
Having seen the Warriors drop two catches and miss a host of run-out chances, the home side showed their visitors how it was supposed to be done.
Where Pune were dreadful, Chennai excelled, showing great dedication in their fielding, doing everything in their powers to cut off the runs, with numerous boundaries saved through a last-ditch dive.
Chasing 143 for victory, Pune were in trouble early when Albie Morkel (three for 29), who has endured a torrid time in the IPL thus far, responded to yet another failure with the bat by snagging the early wickets of Mohnish Misha (9) and Manish Pandey (12), both with some help from the inside edge.
With Ravichandran Ashwin at the other end removing the middle stump of the dangerous Jesse Ryder (15) and bowling Robin Uthappa (0) around his legs, Pune were reduced to 40 for four and in a world of trouble.
Mithun Manhas departed after a brief burst to make it 78 for five, and the onus for completing the run chase rested firmly on the shoulders of skipper Yuvraj Singh.
Together with IPL debutant Nathan McCullum, Yuvraj looked to break the shackles but neither man was able to find the boundary with any great regularity and as a result the chase never gained the required momentum.
Yuvraj eventually fell for 34 in the penultimate over of the match, with the game already all but over, and it was a dismissal that encapsulated the difference between the two sides.
Trying to crack the ball through cover, the Pune skipper found the toe-end of the bat and as the ball flew straighter than he would have liked, Shadab Jakati at extra cover dived full length to his left to claim a superb catch and end the Warriors’ hopes.
Earlier, Jerome Taylor and Alfonso Thomas shared five wickets to restrict Chennai to what appeared to be a below-par total of 142 for six.
Mike Hussey (61) and Murali Vijay (31) laid the foundations for the total with an opening stand of 64, with Mahendra Dhoni weighing in with a useful 26.
However, with wickets falling in clumps, the Super Kings were never able to truly explode after a solid start, leaving their bowlers with a tough – but ultimately achievable – task.
The result sees defending champions Chennai climb to fourth in the 10-team standings, while Pune slipped down to eighth. Cricket365