CSK consolidate top spot with big win
Chennai Super Kings 164 for 3 (Raina 63*, Dhoni 45*) beat Pune Warriors 127 for 9 (Mohit Sharma 3-21) by 37 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Chennai Super Kings continued with their formula of going at roughly a run a ball for the first 10 overs, keeping wickets in hand, and then exploding to take 10 an over off the last 10. On a pitch on which the ball seamed and bounced variably, they reached 55 for 2 after 10 overs, but Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and MS Dhoni looted 109 in the rest of the innings to set up an easy 37-run, sixth consecutive win, which kept them at the top of the table and Pune Warriors at the bottom.
With the ball seaming around, Super Kings lost their openers for 28 runs, that too thanks to generous umpiring. However, out came their crisis man Badrinath, and did his job without any fuss. He and Raina added 75 off 59, without taking risks, and picking the rate up progressively. Raina kept providing the odd boundary, and Badrinath found the gaps for ones and twos.
It was in the 13th over that the real charge began. Badrinath drove consecutive deliveries from Rahul Sharma down the ground and through point for fours to take his strike past 100. Raina's was already a healthier strike rate, but he accelerated by sending Kane Richardson over midwicket for a six in the next over.
Badrinath fell in the 16th over, but he and Super Kings will know he fell at just the right time, after just the right innings of 34 off 31. Dhoni came out and took four and six off the first two balls he faced. The six was a demoralising - for the fielding side - punch off the back foot, over extra cover.
Dhoni then took apart Ashok Dinda, a bowler he is often criticised for not giving enough chances. He took 25 off eight Dinda's deliveries, two of them swept boundaries, and one a six off the last ball of the innings. Seamlessly Raina went from being the dominant partner in the earlier partnership to taking back seat and watching Dhoni subdue the bowlers. Along the way he brought up his second half-century of the season.
The target was bigger than ever chased in Pune, which became more daunting because of the seam movement available. Mohit Sharma, the Haryana fast bowler who has been the find of the season for Super Kings, utilised it to end the chase for all intents and purposes with an unbroken four-over spell. With successive deliveries in his first over, he got rid of Aaron Finch and T Suman. He missed the hat-trick, but got Yuvraj Singh to edge behind, making it 43 for 4 in the fifth over. There was no way back from there.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo