Chennai prove too good for Ahmedabad
Chennai Superstars 135 for 6 (Arnold 40) beat Ahmedabad Rockets 107 for 8 (Martyn 52, Shabbir 3-20) by 35 runs by VJD method
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The Chennai Superstars won their second game in a row after Russel Arnold and G Vignesh set up a stiff target and despite Damien Martyn's 38-ball 52, the Ahmedabad Rockets slipped to their second straight loss.
The lights failed after Chennai batted for 16 overs and Ahmedabad were set an adjusted target of 143 in the same number of overs. They got off to a limp start, 15 for 2 in four overs, and that eventually proved crucial.
Martyn did quicken Chennai heartbeats with a classy counterattack but the asking rate kept rocketing upwards. Martyn's effort was uncharacteristic of a Twenty20 innings: it oozed class and was filled with conventional strokes like extra-cover drives and cuts. He on-drove Nantie Hayward for a four and when the bowler shortened the length, he twice deployed the late cut to send the ball to the third-man boundary. He lifted the left-arm spinner Syed Mohammad to the sightscreen, pulled and cover-drove Vignesh for two fours, but the 11th over ended Ahmedabad's hopes.
First Sodhi, who rotated the strike expertly in a 71-run partnership, was run out by a hard and flat throw by Hayward from wide long-on. Martyn too fell, unable to clear the midwicket fielder, and the chase ran out of steam.
Chennai's start wasn't auspicious either. Vignesh, the bowler who has found new life as a dashing opening batsman in ICL, had a horrid start. In the space of seven balls, he was involved in the run outs of Ian Harvey and J Hariesh. But he eased the pressure on himself with some big hits. He lofted length deliveries from Heath Streak, slog swept the spinner Sumit Kalia, but what stood out was a stunning six off Reetinder Singh Sodhi: a flat-batted forehand straight back over the bowler's head.
Arnold took over after Vignesh had holed out to deep cover. He played to his strengths: those late cuts and the bottom-handed swat-flick over square leg were on display. When the ball was slightly short and a touch around off, he employed the late cut and every now and then swung the full ones over the on side. Twenty20 moves at a frenetic pace and it's always interesting to see how the players adapt. To cut off those dabs, the keeper Ryan Campbell almost stood entirely outside off. Arnold started picking singles and twos down the wicket before he top-edged a swipe and Campbell ran all the way to backward square-leg to hold the catch.
The format also brings out some stunning fielding. Murray Goodwin, who had run out J Hariesh, capped it off with a stunner at backward point - the best of the tournament so far - to dismiss R Jesuraj. He dived to his left to make a one-handed stop before firing in a direct hit even as he lay sprawled on the ground. Post the fall of Jesuraj, R Sathish found the boundary few times before the light towers blanked out to end the innings. Martyn's knock lit up the arena later but couldn't eclipse Chennai's efforts.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo