Chennai Super Kings v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2013, Chennai April 25, 2013

Dhoni takes stumbling Chennai home


Chennai Super Kings 160 for 5 (Dhoni 67*, Hussey 45, Mishra 3-26) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 159 for 6 (Dhawan 63*, Ashish Reddy 36*) by 5 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

You can be hero and villain on the same night. Ask Amit Mishra and Ashish Reddy. Reddy scored a whirlwind 36 off 16 balls to help Sunrisers Hyderabad get 59 off the last four overs and give them something to bowl at. Mishra kept them alive with the wickets of Michael Hussey, M Vijay and Suresh Raina. However, Mishra, promoted to No.5, wasted 21 balls for just 15 runs, and dropped MS Dhoni even before he had opened the account. Reddy was given the last over to bowl with 15 to defend, and a now-rampaging Dhoni to face. Reddy completely froze, and bowled the most predictable slower balls imaginable for Dhoni to win it easily.

Spared villainy was Dwayne Bravo who bowled length in the final overs to allow Reddy those runs, but more crucially batted like a rabbit in the headlights, manufacturing - as the IPL's wont has been - a thriller out of nowhere. He played out a maiden from Karan Sharma - who registered this IPL's most economical four-over figures of 0 for 8 - in the 16th over. Then he holed out on the bowling of Ishant Sharma for a near game-changing 7 off 16.

The man who well and truly snatched heroism from villainy was Dhoni. He too began dozily, playing six dots before he top-edged Dale Steyn to long leg where Mishra missed him. How Dhoni made Sunrisers pay for it. Firstly, after Bravo's maiden left Super Kings needing 46 off last four, Dhoni hit two sensational and consecutive pulled sixes off Steyn, who at times bowled at close to 150 kph. One over midwicket, and the other dragged from wide outside off to clear long-on. This was brutal hitting against the best bowler in the world.

Bravo, though, turned it around again, and Sunrisers went to Steyn to bowl the 19th over with 27 runs to play with. Dhoni played another calculated over. Steyn bowled with third man and fine leg up to defend areas down the ground. Dhoni dabbed the first past short fine leg for two, and square-drove the second over point for four. The third one he slogged over deep midwicket. This was the first time Steyn was hit for three sixes in an IPL innings, and only the second time in any Twenty20 game.

Steyn came back, though, with Ravindra Jadeja's wicket, and left Super Kings needing 15 to win off the last over. Darren Sammy, the IPL debutant, was the only man who had bowled earlier on the night and had an over to go. Cameron White, though, went to Reddy. Perhaps he was thinking if this was Reddy's evening, it might be his night too. It wasn't.

Reddy began with a back-of-the-hand slower ball that was almost off the pitch. He ran up again, and tried the same slower ball again. Dhoni missed, but it was not as though he had not picked it. Reddy had got lucky Dhoni didn't connect. Reddy, though, tried it again, and Dhoni smacked it clean out of the ground. Eight off four now. Reddy was clearly nervous. He tried the normal yorker now, and missed his line by feet. Five wides. Hang on. Dhoni admits to having touched it. So three off four now becomes four off three. Dhoni pulled the next slower ball to beat long-on and bring the win that put Super Kings level with Royal Challengers Bangalore at the top of the table.

Watching all this, Shikhar Dhawan would be wondering whatever happened to what should have been a special Sunrisers debut for him. He came out from a month in the cold storage, braved a blow in the unmentionables, scored a fifty to give Sunrisers a total to bowl at, but ended as a footnote on a night Dhoni went from 0 off 6 to 67 off 37.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Insane on April 29, 2013, 20:59 GMT

    dhoni is the best. he proves his critics wrong time and again, unlike tendulkar.

  • Yasiru on April 28, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    For everybody who criticize Dale Steyn.When he gets going everybody enjoyed and praised.But when he had an ONE off day, all are saying he is not the best bowler orelse a good t20 bowler.I donot know even donald bradmon had got out for ducks when he was the best test player in the world.It is a pure joke saying best bowler should not have an off day.Every body have off days.But he has become the greatest pace bowler because he has this wide gap between those off days .One or two off days is not a criteria to judge the life long performances of a Person.If you analyse such it is not an analyse but pure opportunitism. 0

    Dale has one off day(may be two or three) but he will bounce back immediately.You cannot take that attitude of attacking from him although he was going through a rough patch.About CSk, No matter what anybody says here Dhoni or jaddu or bravo or raina or morkel or hussey etc will finish the match and bring CSK home.Next match it will be badri who knows.!!!

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Really impressed with Haryana quick - Mohit Sharma, he gives it everything each time he bowls and has a knack of picking wickets. That being said, I'd like to see Jason Holder amongst the wickets. It's great to see the Windies players contribute significantly to the respective franchises - Gayle (RCB), Pollard (MI), DJ Bravo (CSK). Good signs for WI cricket?

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    It was obviously a good strategy to have sammy/perera and ishant to bowl at start against chennai..Ashish is the most experienced last over bowler for Hyderabad. What went wrong is just the execution . As always Steyn dissapoints when ordinary things or expected of him and bowls extra ordinary when no one expects it

  • Vijay on April 27, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    A CSK win is always encouraged by us (CSK fans) ,but as a cricket fanatic and analyzing the way CSK has played, its never been a team game , other than few occasions. Few games where CSK never deserved to win, crossed the line by some cameos. May be its the way dhoni wants his team to be under pressure right from early stage so that they can handle the critical situations well,later .Biggest concerns would be Murali vijay and Raina, vijay is throwing away his wickets attempting for horrendous shots. I would rather give Murali vijay a break for 2-4 games, may be allow raina to open the innings (so that he can utilize the powerplay), 1 down could be badri /morris, dhoni, jadeja, anirudha, bravo, ashwin. Now that CSK are in a better stage, they can afford for few options. May be try some combo till game 12, 13-16 match by now, they would know which will be best combo. All the best CSK!!

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    Amazing game at how M.S Dhoni played for the CSK this match.But I think both team had the opportunity to make the win .CSK you are awesome!!

  • Dummy4 on April 26, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    In this game clearly Sunrisers were missing Thisara Parerra. I wonder why White gave last over Ahsish reddy, may be he thought he will do some wonder like he did in batting. When Dale Steyn was hit all round the park what can reddy do. Sammy too did not have guts to bowl the last over, very strange.. I hope Sunrisers do not set down in the remaining games. Whatever most of the matches are looking one sided but this match looked like thriller.

  • Matrix on April 26, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    @ThyrSaadam : well said. I agree with you. CSK fans constituting younger fans of today are not aware of team form and CSK is woefully out of form as a team. Someone keeps bailing it out and with luck they reached semis the past two season. The CSK coaching staff seems to me is clueless about this.

  • kumar on April 26, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    @moralsupporter79, buddy I guess you are overreacting here. You are talking as if CSK is unbeatable and is anyway going to win despite other CSK batters' poor performance. CSK only has good batting but that had failed today except ruthless MSD. That drop was definitely crucial considering how danger MSD is. SRH has to definitely regret for dropping MSD.

  • Anand on April 26, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    CSK cannot always continue to jailbreak out of such situations, well as long as they keep doing so, their fans will not complain i guess?