IPL: Raina revels & Dhoni dazzles in Super show for Chennai
RESULT: Chennai Super Kings beat Pune Warriors beat 37 runs
Suresh Raina returned to do what he does best by crafting a superb 63 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni blasted an explosive 16-ball 45-run knock as Chennai Super Kings strengthened their position at the top of the table with a 37-run win over Pune Warriors.
Raina anchored the innings with his 50-ball knock and skipper Dhoni provided the late fireworks as Chennai overcame a slow start to post a challenging 164-3.
Paceman Mohit Sharma then rocked the Pune top-order in a fiery spell in which he dismissed Aaron Finch (15), T Suman (0) and Yuvraj Singh (5), blows from which the hosts never recovered and managed just 127-9.
Finch was caught behind and Suman was trapped off successive balls in Mohit’s first over. He then returned to scalp Yuvraj.
Raina’s electric fielding resulted in a run out of Robin Uthappa (10) which left the hosts reeling at 43 for four inside the fifth over. As if that was not enough, Luke Wright was run out in an unfortunate manner when Steve Smith hit a solid straight drive but the ball touched Albie Morkel’s foot before hitting the stumps and Wright was caught out of the crease.
A terrible mix up followed some time later again which saw Abhihek Nayar too being run out. Smith handed back a simple catch to Ravindra Jadeja a few overs later and with that Pune were on their way to their eighth defeat from 10 matches.
Dhoni later said the pitch was an unknown commodity for them which meant they were not sure of what total will be ideal. “On these kinds of wickets, you never know what is a good target. We did well in keeping wickets in hand. 160 is a good benchmark for wickets about which you know nothing about,” he stressed. “It’s important we don’t really eye 180 everytime,” he added.
The India captain lauded Sharma for his efforts. “Mohit has played a lot of Delhi cricket, city cricket makes you street smart, he has played lot of those games. He bowls with full effort, he has shown very good improvement in the last few games.”
Pune captain Aaron Finch almost conceded the battle for play-offs is as good as over. “It’s always hard to stop MS and Raina played beautifully, so it’s back to the drawing board for us. To knock teams out from getting into the finals is one motivation that we can play for,” he said.
Earlier, Raina showed a lot of maturity as he did the spadework alongwith S Badrinath (34) to put the Chennai innings back on track. After losing Michael Hussey (5) and Wriddhiman Sahara (13) early, Raina and Badrinath steadied the ship with a 75-run stand in 9.5 overs for the third wicket.
But it was the 61-run unbeaten partnership in 4.3 overs between Raina and Dhoni for the fourth wicket that spoilt all the good work Pune bowlers had done earlier.
Dhoni rained four fours and three sixes as Chennai collected 50 runs in the last four overs. Raina helped himself to five fours and a six.
Pune had began the contest well with young Australian paceman Kane Richardson and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar’s fine spells restricting the Chennai charge early on before But Raina and Dhoni spoilt it all.