Skipper MS Dhoni produced a blistering innings of 63 off only 19 balls as Chennai Super Kings sent Sunrisers Hyderabad on a leather hunt in the Champions League Twenty20 at the JSCA Sports Complex yesterday.
His knock included a whopping eight sixes and a single boundary.
Prior to Dhoni’s belligerence, it was Suresh Raina who struck a brilliant 84 off 57 balls. Such was Dhoi's brutality that neither speed nor spin provided any challenge to the skipper.
There was no mistaking the impact Dhoni’s arrival had on the innings and no one could better understand it than Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera, who was smashed for five huge sixes in the 18th over.
Fastest CLT20 fifty
Dhoni, in the process, also struck the fastest fifty in the history of the Champions League, reaching the landmark in just 16 balls and surpassing West Indian Kieron Pollard’s record (50 off 18 balls).
Dhoni played a leader’s innings of the finest order and, together with Raina, put on a 60-run partnership in just 23 balls for the fourth wicket.
Before Dhoni’s arrival, the show belonged entirely to Raina and his powerful stroke-play. Walking in to bat after the dismissal of opener Murali Vijay, Raina took time to get his eyes in and then made the most of the Sunrisers’ tactics of utilising pace against him.
CSK made 202 runs in their allotted 20 overs with Raina cracking 84 in just 57 balls. When Dhoni was in full flow, his fans were screaming hoarse: "Dhoni, Dhoni."
"This was 'paisa vasool' performance from Dhoni," said Reema, a fan as she watched the match at the stadium.
Echoing her view, another supporter Raunak said: "Today, Dhoni enthralled us. He did what we came for. This was memorable batting from Dhoni."
Brief score: Chennai Super Kings 202-4 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 84, M S Dhoni 63*; Dale Steyn 2-23)