Chennai Super Kings v Pune Warriors, Chennai April 19, 2012

Chennai hold nerve in tight game


Chennai Super Kings 164 for 5 (du Plessis 58, Badrinath 57, Samuels 3-39) beat Pune Warriors 151 for 7 (Mathews 27, Kulasekara 2-10) by 13 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Chennai Super Kings raised their game in front of their home supporters to even the score with Pune Warriors, to whom they had lost five days ago. Warriors needed 21 off the last over, achievable by this tournament's standards, but couldn't finish the job. The Warriors had their moments with the bat but couldn't sustain their partnerships, thanks to some sharp catching and miserly death bowling by the hosts.

On a pitch with variable bounce, and the sapping humidity to deal with, it was a commendable effort by Super Kings' Faf du Plessis and S Badrinath to stage the first century opening stand of the season, 116. The surface was slow, and as a result, the openers used their feet against the seamers to get to the pitch of the ball.

Du Plessis was dropped early in his innings - albeit a tough chance - but he continued to look positive, lofting Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the second tier over long-on and then chipping down the track in a 14-run over, the costliest in the first half of the innings. He had another let-off on 40, when he went down the track to Marlon Samuels and was beaten by the low bounce, only for the wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa to fluff a stumping. Luck was on his side again the following over, when on 51, he attempted a quick single to cover, turned back and dived at the crease. The third umpire studied several replays but gave du Plessis the benefit of the doubt as he wasn't convinced that the bail was completely off the groove before he made his ground.

Badrinath vindicated the decision to replace the out-of-form M Vijay at the top by getting a fifty of his own. He was circumspect against the spinners, and didn't always find the right timing, especially with the slog. But three consecutive boundaries off Bhuvneshwar fast-tracked him to his half-century.

The Warriors then clawed back by getting rid of the pair in the next over. Both fell in similar manner, holing out to Angelo Mathews trying to slog. It wasn't the worst thing to happen for Super Kings as MS Dhoni helped his team bash 39 off the last three overs, which included a helicopter-shot for four which nearly cleaned out the bowler and umpire, and a six which cleared the roof.

The Warriors were halted in their chase by some terrific catching by Super Kings, starting with Robin Uthappa's early departure. He spliced it to mid-off where R Ashwin timed his dive and plucked it inches from the ground. Jesse Ryder pulled Nuwan Kulasekara to deep midwicket where Dwayne Bravo followed up his diving catch with a dance. A couple of overs later, Badrinath had to cover a lot of ground to catch a skier to send back Manish Pandey.

Prior to Pandey's fall, Sourav Ganguly had just knocked 18 off a Doug Bollinger over which featured three pleasing boundaries to the on side. However, the spinners applied the stranglehold in the next five overs, as the run-rate dropped from 8.83 to 6.50. Marlon Samuels broke the rut with two boundaries off Shadab Jakati and a top-edged six off Bravo, but the slower pace of Ashwin led him to spoon a catch to short cover. Warriors needed 68 off 40 when he departed, but they were leaving the rest to their last recognised pair.

Steven Smith and Mathews failed to bisect the gaps in the field, as the Warriors managed just two boundaries in the last eight overs. Super Kings threw themselves around in the field, and the bowlers, importantly, didn't dish out full tosses to give the batsmen any chance. Bollinger conceded just four and took a wicket in the penultimate over, and Bravo's slower balls in particular made the task tougher for Super Kings.

Though the century stand set them up to a competitive 164, Dhoni's final blaze made the difference in a evenly fought contest.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 20, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    pune was really unlucky to lose out ... were going toe to toe against csk until the final over , where everything went haywire . hope they bounce back in the next game , which would be a might ask (against Delhi Daredevils)

  • P on April 20, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Mr. Kataria, you are not right that Dhoni has the best Indian team. 6-7 years back, India had much younger Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble, Harbhajan, Agarkar etc at their peak. Ganguly helped India to come out of the mess of Azhar and inability of Sachin to lead a team. Dhoni's success in World Cup was in Indian soil, not the same as winning in England or coming second in RSA. Dhoni took over when Australia was in decline with retirements of key players, England finding its feet, Pakistan in its usual turmoil. These things helped India become world number 1, for a very short time.

  • P on April 20, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    Amazing that people still think Ganguly is a great captain. In first IPL, he had Gayle, David Hussey, Umar Gul, Hodge, McCullum apart from Agarkar, Murali Kartik, Dinda, Ishant Sharma, himself... next seasons KKR had Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Owais Shah, Tiwary... and even then KKR were clueless. Ganguly's anxiety to prove himself put every player under stress and made them look second-rate. He claims leadership quality when players do good, but refuses to take responsibility when players don't do well.

  • Dummy4 on April 20, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    i see a big Dada -Dhoni debate going on here though i am a fan of MSD too ,i will just say one think Ganguly was the best captain of the Indian team and dhoni is the captain of the best India team (at least when he took over)

  • P on April 20, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    The turning point was the series of dropped catches. Bo point expecting Ganguly to play a match-winning inning any more. His T20 batting record is there for all to see, one of the worst strikerates for top order batsmen. Just check Dravid's this year strike rate, and Dravid was deemed to be unfit for this format. Ganguly doesn't dare to bowl any more; and his fielding is plain unacceptable. Yes, he is still an excellent captain. May be it will be better if he comes middle order and plays in the normal slow overs between 10-15, when spinners bowl. PWI has no one who can replace him, unfortunately.

  • soumya on April 20, 2012, 12:40 GMT


  • shailesh on April 20, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    @G. Sri: he tore apart dougie in 1 over.. but still ended up with strike rate less than 100!! no one here is questioning what Dada did in past. no second thoughts that he was the best captain for India. but everything has a time limit. kapil was the best fast bowler India has produced till now. but does that mean he can still play? past glories dont count for anything. when dada was in form he was a treat to watch... @ Arindam: had he stayed till end??? mate in that case anyone could tell that had Ryder, Uthappa stayed till end, PWi could have won. that is not valid point. @ Hound Hounder: any player will lose the confidence of his team mates in case he doesn't perform. I am sure Dada must not let this happen. @nani_chow: fancy words will not make a player great. performance will- that too current and not the past performance!

  • Dummy4 on April 20, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    I hate to bring this topic but can't help seeing some comments with minimal cricketing logic. It was heartening to see the captaincy vote between Dhoni and Dada during the match. On guy last captained India 7 years ago, retired 4 years ago. Plays only 20 days of cricket a year. The other has won the world cup a go ago, plays 300 days a year., and still a captain of India. Remember, people on the net are mostly new generation, unaware of Ganguly heorics and more familiar with Dhoni - but still Dada beat Dhoni! Indian people is not that forgetful! They haven't forgotten Dada and his contributions, and the wretched Dada haters get one thing straight! - he scores or not - just seeing him in the field enlivens millions of Indians - and he should play just for that.

  • Baritone on April 20, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    To all Dada haters: I understand you!! His misfields are a treat to watch... not to mention the way he gets out edging to the slip like it's some religious duty he must perform. Sorry Ganguly, you're free rides are over. You can't always rely on good performances by players who've created the impression that you're a good captain. While I support CSK I must say it's become a lame team. Yesterday's match was ample proof. They struck a century opening partnership but took time to try to accelerate and when they finally did they failed. Luckily Dhoni hit some runs which made the difference.

  • Swapnoneel on April 20, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    @nani_chow: at this rate, they might still go to the bottom of the table under your favorite dada!

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