Pune rides on Ryder, Smith knocks to beat Chennai by seven wickets

Pune Warriors rode on a brilliant fourth-wicket unbeaten partnership between Jesse Ryder and Steven Smith to defeat Chennai Super Kings by seven wickets in their Indian Premier League match here today.

Chasing 156 to win, the Warriors got to the target with four balls to spare. Jesse Ryder came good when it mattered most slamming an unbeaten 56-ball 73 and Steven Smith was equally brilliant as he smashed 44 off just 22 balls with the help of four boundaries and three sixes.

Chasing 156 for victory, the Warriors needed 34 off the last three overs. Smith carted Dwayne Bravo for a six and a four to bring the equation down to 22 off 12.

Ryder then launched into Nuwan Kulasekara as he pulled and cut the medium pacer for two fours on either side of the wicket.

Requiring 10 in the final over, the Warriors cantered home with four balls to spare after Smith hit a four and a six over cover off Yo Mahesh.

Ryder hit seven fours and a six during his stay at the wicket.

The Pune Warriors are currently undisputed kings at home. Pic/AFP

Robin Uthappa started the chase in earnest, pulling Albie Morkel for a six over mid-wicket in the second over.

But the Karnataka batsman could not sustain the initial momentum as he was run out by Kulasekara.

Ryder was, however, unfazed by the dismissal of his partner as he went about the task in a calculated manner.

After hitting Kulasekara for three boundaries on the leg-side prior to Uthappa's wicket, the burly Ryder found the fence against Morkel and Dwayne Bravo at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.

But what must have hurt the Warriors at that point of time was the lack of support from the other end.

Yet to find form with the bat, the trend continued for skipper Sourav Ganguly, who despite digging on for some time, could not score more than 16.

Marlon Samuels flopped again as he got out to a horrendous shot off the bowling of Mahesh after wasting 15 deliveries for his eight runs, before Smith and Ryder turned the tide in their team's favour.

Earlier, Ravindra Jadeja proved his worth with a brisk 26-ball 44 that lifted Chennai Super Kings to a fighting 155 for five in their Indian Premier League match against Pune Warriors here today.

Jadeja took centrestage after opener Faf du Plessis slammed 43 off just 33 balls to set the tone for the visitors at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni contributed 26 off 28 balls while Suresh Raina struck 20 off 19.

Opting to bat, Chennai were off to a flyer as du Plessis went hammer and tongs, especially against left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra. In all, du Plessis hit five fours and two sixes, while Jadeja slammed four boundaries and two sixes.

Du Plessis collected 18 runs off Nehra's first over and soon the fifty was up on the board for the Super Kings. Brought in to bowl the fourth over, Nehra was welcomed with a drive through the off-side. The second ball was carted over the extra cover for another boundary, and Du Plessis got the maximum when he nonchalantly went down the ground to hit Nehra over his head off the bowler's fourth ball.

The show did not end there as the South African sweetly drove Nehra through the extra cover region for another boundary. Thanks to du Plessis' onslaught, Chennai were able to maintain a health run-rate, which however dropped a bit after his dismissal.

Du Plessis' was an important wicket from the Warriors' point of view and the credit for that goes to Rahul Sharma who foxed the batsman with extra bounce in the 10th over. Legspinner Sharma struck again when he had Raina, caught brilliantly by Steven Smith in the deep.

Chennai got a bit of momentum back as Jadeja picked Murali Karthik for special treatment, lofting him over long-off and long-on for a four and six respectively. Jadeja then hoicked Marlon Samuels over long-on for a massive six, three overs after guiding the same bowler to the left of the sweeper fielder.

Brief scores:

Chennai Super Kings: 155 for five in 20 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 44, Faf du Plessis 43; Rahul Sharma 2/16).

Pune Warriors: 156 for 3 in 19.2 overs (Jesse Ryder 73 not out, Steven Smith 44 not out). 

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