The Chennai Super Kings returned to winning ways with a 21-run victory over the Bangalore Royal Challengers at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
Mike Hussey marked his return to the IPL with an unbeaten 83 as he carried his bat through the innings – profiting from two dropped chances – as the Super Kings reached an imposing total of 183 for five. AB de Villiers’ fighting half-century then proved in vain as Bangalore could only manage 162 for seven to slump to a third straight defeat.
Having won the toss MS Dhoni had no hesitation in electing to bat first, with Hussey making his return to the Chennai lineup after Australia’s three match ODI tour of Bangladesh. After scoring a hundred in the Aussies’ third ODI victory over the Tigers just three days ago, Hussey held up one end while the rest of the Chennai batsmen were allowed to play freely around him.
While the Australian played fluently, it was Bangalore who only had themselves to blame with a sloppy fielding effort which included a number of fumbles and two dropped catches.
Mohammad Kaif was guilty of putting down the first chance with Hussey’s score on just eight – Johan van der Wath the unfortunate bowler – as the left-hander combined in a 51-run opening stand with Murali Vijay. Having blasted two sixes and three fours Vijay (31 from 21 balls) was the first man to go, having given the Super Kings some valuable early momentum.
That momentum continued with Suresh Raina providing an aggressive cameo. The 24-year old took a liking to Ryan Ninan with two fours and a six in succession before trying one shot too many as he was out caught for 29 from 16 balls – Chennai reaching 97 for two after 11 overs.
The onslaught continued with skipper MS Dhoni swatting a quick 22 runs before falling to Indian teammate Zaheer Khan while Albie Morkel and Sub Badrinath perished cheaply for the cause. Hussey meanwhile continued on his way to an unbeaten 83 off just 56 deliveries, given a second chance by Asad Pathan with his score on 66, as Chennai finished with an imposing total of 183 from their 20 overs.
The Royal Challengers chase then got off the worst possible start as Tillakaratne Dilshan scooped his first delivery from Albie Morkel straight to midwicket off the second ball of the innings.
Originally down to bat at seven, Asad Pathan was promoted up the order to number three in a pinch-hitting role and the right-hander made a dramatic start to his knock by collecting two fours and a six in his opening four deliveries as the first over ended with the score on 15 for one. Pathan’s knock however was not too last much longer, a premeditated paddle seeing him bowled and embarrassed by Tim Southee.
Mayank Agarwal was next to go, the 20-year old folding under mounting pressure as he skied off-spinner Ravi Ashwin (1 for 22) with the Royal Challengers slumping to 31 for three.
The contribution of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers was always going to be key for the men from Bangalore and the pair then threatened to play the visitors back into the game with a promising stand of 42. Kohli was the more aggressive as launched into four fours and a six before he fell trying to up the tempo further, a top edge out to long-on seeing him on his way for 35 off 28 balls.
De Villiers, despite finding no support from the other end, continued to fight a lone battle and collected his fifty from 38 balls before lifting Southee for an outrageous reverse-sweep for six. The mounting pressure and lack of support however proved too much for the South African who was eventually caught on the off side fence for 64 from 44 balls, Albie Morkel claiming the wicket of his provincial teammate.
Daniel Vettori and Johan van der Wath were left with too much to do in the last two overs as Bangalore fell 21-runs short. Suraj Randiv was the pick of the Chennai bowlers with two for 24, Morkel weighed in with two for 34 while Srikkanth Anirudha claimed three catches in the outfield. Cricket365