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All star of the match

Raina's blistering ton hands Chennai seventh straight win

Suresh Raina's commanding ton helped Chennai beat Punjab, by 15 runs, to take a giant stride towards qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Indian T20 tournament on Thursday.

ESPNcricinfo staff
Suresh Raina - 100 from 53 balls
Suresh Raina's commanding ton helped Chennai beat Punjab by 15 runs, to take a giant stride towards qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Indian T20 tournament on Thursday.
Raina, the tournament's most prolific run-getter, came in to bat after Chennai lost their opener Wriddhiman Saha for 18. The batsman began cautiously and hit just two fours in the first five overs at the crease. But he broke the shackles, thereafter, and clobbered David Hussey for a four and a six in the 10th over.
Raina lost a number of partners - en route to his hundred - with Michael Hussey and MS Dhoni perishing in a bid to hit boundaries. But the loss didn't affect his attacking posture, as he smashed Manpreet Gony for two sixes in the 16th over. An over later, he hit R Sathish for consecutive boundaries.
Raina peppered his innings with quick-singles and two's when the boundaries were hard to come by. He reached the landmark, his first of the tournament, in the final over, hitting a six off Praveen Kumar to get to 97 before running a two and a single. He finished with seven fours and six sixes, which gave his side a sizeable total of 186.
"It's a good feeling. I missed out in South Africa (in 2009)," Raina said. "When the team needs you and you deliver it's the best feeling ever. In Twenty20 you need to bat well, field well and bowl well. Today our bowlers did a fantastic job, especially Mohit Sharma and (Dwayne) Bravo.
"I've spent a lot of time with Duncan (Fletcher), (Stephen) Fleming. Michael Hussey has been my role model in this tournament. He has been the most senior player we have, along with MS (Dhoni) and when you have a positive environment in the dressing room, you tend to learn from senior players."
Shikhar Dhawan - 73 from 55 balls
Shikhar Dhawan continued his good form this season, with a 73 from 55 balls, to help Hyderabad beat star-studded Mumbai by a seven-wicket margin on Wednesday.
Chasing a modest 130, Hyderabad lost opener Akshath Reddy for just seven, but Dhawan and captain Kumar Sangakkara put on a 37 run-stand for the second wicket before the latter fell.
Dhawan continued his stellar display and guided the chase single-handedly. He peppered both the square boundaries as he motored to his second fifty in three innings.
Pragyan Ojha created some pressure and gave just 18 in four overs, but Hyderabad broke away in the 12th over as Rohit Sharma turned to Dwayne Smith for a wicket.
Dhawan and Hanuma Vihari took 15 off Smith's over. Dhawan dominated the attack after that and despatched Mitchell Johnson for two boundaries in 15th over. The south-paw cut, pulled and lofted over extra cover at will to end the game with a couple of overs left.
"After the Australia series, there has been consistency and I'm playing well," Dhawan said. "I've understood my game. It was an important win as we need three-four games to qualify. I didn't want to lose a wicket early so I tried to be patient and it worked well."
"I held my batting-shape as I knew if I lost my shape, I would lose my wicket. So I concentrated on my timing and it worked."
Hyderabad's captain Sangakkara said that a strong all-round performance set up the win. "I think we prepared well and executed most of our plans. The way Ishant set us up was excellent. Shikhar was outstanding. The way he batted through and accelerated after setting a foundation was excellent."