Chennai go fourth with tough win
Chennai Super Kings 160 for 6 (du Plessis 42) beat Deccan Chargers 150 for 5 (White 77) by 10 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Their batsmen did not set Chepauk alight, nor did their bowlers destroy the opposition, but Chennai Super Kings fought hard on a demanding pitch to earn a victory that helped them claw back into the league's top half. Their top-order made nugget-sized but swift contributions that ensured Super Kings reached a competitive target despite an end-over slowdown, after which their bowlers prevented Cameron White's solitary straining at the reins from saving the night for Deccan Chargers. It was a gritty, unspectacular win, but one that ensured they did not drop points against the IPL's bottom-placed team.
The turnaround for Super Kings, however, came via a stroke of luck. White and Shikhar Dhawan had kept Chargers on course by reaching 77 for 1 in the 11th over, when White drove the ball hard at Dwayne Bravo, the bowler. The ball thudded into Bravo's hand and deflected a long way on to the stumps, catching Dhawan backing-up much too far. There was no luck involved in Kumar Sangakkara's dismissal, though, when Suresh Raina lunged to his right to grab a firm drive with the fingertips of his outstretched hand. Daniel Christian took time to settle in and Chargers scored only 26 between overs 11 and 15 for the loss of two wickets. They needed 59 off the final five and run scoring was significantly harder as the ball got older.
Two more economical overs drove the equation up to 47 off 18 balls, when White swung Ravindra Jadeja far over long-on and long-off, and then through backward square leg, to give Chargers hope. With 27 needed off 10 deliveries, though, Jadeja's accurate throw to Dhoni from the deep ran out White for 77, snuffing out Chargers' last hope. Perhaps the most relieved man on the field was Albie Morkel, who had dropped White first ball.
Chargers had themselves to blame for their seventh defeat in ten matches. Their fielding has been shocking through the tournament and today's performance was typical. Amit Mishra dropped Faf du Plessis on 10; he went on to top-score for Super Kings with 42. In the final over, Ankit Sharma and Parthiv Patel failed to call for a catch off Bravo and conceded two runs off that delivery. The next ball went for six and the last two for two each. In a format of small margins, Chargers were generous once again. They could have been chasing 140 instead of 160.
At one stage, however, Super Kings' top order was building a platform for 180. M Vijay, who opened because Michael Hussey was replaced by Ben Hilfenhaus, flung his bat around before he was caught early, but there were brisk partnerships between the rest. Raina and du Plessis added 64 in 7.2 overs, the highlight being Raina, who took six balls to score, pulling and hooking Veer Pratap Singh for consecutive sixes.
In the end, the acceleration did not come. After scoring at a healthy clip for the majority of their innings, and despite sending the strongest in their arsenal upfront, Super Kings did not find that end-over propulsion. In fact, they slowed down: having made 118 for 3 in 14 overs, Super Kings scored only 42 off the final six, but it was ten too many for Chargers.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo