Laggards Pune Warriors were no match for table-toppers Chennai Super Kings as the visitors registered a comprehensive 37-run win at Pune on Tuesday.
Chasing 165, Pune never looked in the race as wickets at regular intervals meant they capitulated with ease and handed Chennai sweet revenge for their loss to the Warriors on April 15th.
Chennai's medium-pacer Mohit Sharma was the pick of the bowlers taking three wickets for 21 from his four overs. The Haryana pacer even had the chance to take a hat-trick, but despite not being able to achieve that landmark, he was instrumental in Chennai extend their winning run to six games.
Pune Warriors India have had a decent record while bowling first in their home games so far this season. They conceded 145 against a strong Rajasthan Royals batting line-up despite a Rahul Dravid 50, and just 119 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
And Tuesday seemed a similar script, as Chennai Super Kings managed to score just 55 runs off the first 10 overs after electing to bat. But Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, as they have done so often this IPL season, changed the script completely in the final five overs, as the visitors scored 164 for three in 20 overs.
In reply, Pune Warriors managed just 127 for nine from their alloted 20 overs.
Pune were struggling at 61 for five in nine overs with CSK’s medium pacer Mohit Sharma having done well to remove Aaron Finch (15), T Suman (0) and Yuvraj Singh (5). The three run-outs (Robin Uthappa, Luke Wright and Abhishek Nayar) further hampered Pune’s chase.
It all began well for the hosts, with Kane Richardson removing in-form Michael Hussey in the second over of the CSK innings. The other opener Wriddhiman Saha also didn’t last too long, and CSK managed to score just 29 runs in the powerplay overs.
Suresh Raina and S Badrinath then came up with a steady 75-run partnership that came off 59 deliveries. Apart from a couple of aerial shots from Raina, the duo didn’t take any risks before Badrinath was caught at long off by Steve Smith off Luke Wright in the 16th over. That eventually turned out to be a bad time to take a wicket for the hosts, as Dhoni walked in and flicked the first ball he faced to the fine-leg boundary before launching the next one over the long-off boundary.
Kane Richardson bowled a tidy next over, giving away just seven runs before Dhoni took Ashok Dinda on. Seventeen runs were scored in Dinda’s third over which included a four and a six from the CSK skipper. The death overs problem, one of the many problems that PWI have failed to overcome this season, once again made the difference between a decent target and a really challenging one on a track that stayed low for most part of the CSK innings.
CSK managed to score 62 runs in the last five overs with Dhoni scoring 45 of them in just 16 deliveries. Dhoni made Dinda look a club-standard bowler, sweeping him twice, and hitting him in the third tier on the last ball of the innings.
The Dhoni-Raina partnership came as a big blow to the hosts, as the duo smashed 61 runs in 27 balls. Before Dhoni walked in half-way through the 16th over, the visitors had struck just seven fours and a six. By the time the innings finished, the toll had gone up to 13 fours and five sixes.
Chennai Super Kings: 164 for 3 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 63*, MS Dhoni 44*; Rahul Sharma 1 for 24)
Pune Warriors India 127 for 9 in 20 overs (Steven Smith 35, Kane Richardson 26, Mohit Sharma 3 for 21)