Smart Chennai withstand Sohal blinder
Chennai Super Kings 165 for 5 (Raina 59, Hussey 46, Morkel 19, Ojha 3-26) beat Deccan Chargers 146 for 8 (Sohal 56, Morkel 3-38, Jakati 2-23) by 19 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
Sunny Sohal was like a millionaire spending the last night of his life in Las Vegas, but as it often happens in heist films, the casino owners withstood the brilliant early hand. Sohal's 30-ball 56, full of extravagant risks, had turned a formidable chase into a regulation one, but Chennai Super Kings waited for the final fatal risk before closing in on the rest to deny them the required 95 off 79 deliveries.
It was a night of madness, of silly dropped chances and missed run-outs, of Sohal's extraordinary stroke-play; but the class in the Chennai attack brought the decisive sanity. It was difficult, though, to keep one's wits when Sohal was going. It seemed he could do no wrong, even when he was like a deer in the headlights against bouncers from Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel. Twice he nearly shut his eyes hoping for the best, twice the ball found some part of the bat to fly over the keeper.
Sohal drove it home by making room often and lofting the pace bowlers over cover, and the spinners over long-on, cow corner and midwicket, wherever his arc took them. He hit six fours and four sixes in that spell of play. However, like an amateur gambler, he became too adventurous and tried three reverse-heaves off spin. Two he failed to connect, and the third took the stumps. At 71 for 1 in the seventh over, though, the situation called for sensible batting.
MS Dhoni let Shadab Jakati and Suraj Randiv go through a few quiet overs that resulted in Shikhar Dhawan's wicket. Jakati's effort of 2 for 23 allowed Dhoni to hold back his best overs. Bollinger, R Ashwin and Morkel could now bowl the last seven overs between them. Fifty-eight were required off those overs, and Deccan were still slight favourites.
Not for long. Morkel started the slide with a short ball that got Bharat Chipli's wicket. Ashwin followed it up with a three-run over. Forty-eight off 30 didn't sound quite that easy now. Kumar Sangakkara was forced to manufacture a flick over fine leg, and Bollinger hit the middle stump. Given the form Cameron White and JP Duminy are in, it was game over right there. And so it was as the duo duly holed out.
Deccan's effort in the field was almost a mirror reflection of their chase. On a surface as tired as the whole tournament, they stifled Chennai for the better part of their innings, but fielded poorly and bowled ordinarily at the death to let the hosts off the hook. Hussey enjoyed his fourth life in six IPL innings this year, Suresh Raina discovered two pleasantly surprising chances, and Morkel laid into gentle length balls in the 19th over to hurt Deccan.
White's 13 off 18 wasn't his first mistake of the night. He had dropped a sitter from Hussey. Had he taken that catch, Hussey would have been dismissed for 10, Pragyan Ojha would have got his second wicket in his first over, and Chennai would have been 19 for 2. As it usually happens - ask Kamran Akmal and friends for more - Hussey went on to make them pay with 36 more.
Harmeet Singh then proceeded to let Raina off, and he went from 25 off 21 to 59 off 35 when eventually caught after another life. There was some vengeful slog-sweeping and some leg-side bowling that helped his innings. Morkel, though, provided the exclamation to Deccan's horror effort in the field when he hit Ishant Sharma for three back-to-back sixes. That 21-run over in the end provided Chennai with the buffer to absorb Sohal's onslaught. And Morkel, with 3 for 38, played a significant part in the second half as well.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo