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The defending champions Chennai Super Kings got back to winning ways in IPL season 5 by avenging their defeat at the hands of the Pune Warriors with a closely fought 14 run win over them on Thursday night. CSK were put in to bat on a typical Chennai surface that had a bit in it for everyone and they put up a sizeable 165/5 on the board thanks to a 100+ run opening stand between Francois du Plessis (58) and Subramaniam Badrinath (57) that laid the foundation for an MS Dhoni blitz (28* off 12) at the end. Pune's reply never really got going as none of their batsmen converted their starts and consequently managed just 151/7 in their 20 overs.
Match 24 of the Indian Premier League between defending champions Chennai and an in form Pune team got underway at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai on Thursday night. The Pune skipper Sourav Ganguly won the toss and chose to field first, having made one forced change in his side with the injured Ashok Dinda making way for Murali Kartik while Manish Pandey returned to the squad in place of Mithun Manhas. Chennai on the other hand dropped Murali Vijay and Yo Mahesh for Wriddhiman Saha and Shadab Jakati while Albie Morkel returned to SA for personal reasons and was replaced by Doug Bollinger.
After being put in to bat, the Super Kings got off to a sedate start. Openers Faf du Plessis and Subramaniam Badrinath managed to wriggle out just 9 runs from the first 3 overs and invited pressure on to them. Badrinath in particular was stuck at one end for nearly an entire over from Murali Kartik. The pair however, made amends in the next 3 overs of the powerplay as they mustered a further 33 runs during that period. They were aided by a dropped chance by Murali Kartik of Du Plessis at slip. After 6 overs, Chennai had recovered pretty well to be at 42/0.
The Super Kings didn't quite manage to motor along with wickets in hand after the powerplay though as the likes of Ashish Nehra and Murali Kartik successfully put the breaks on. Du Plessis though kept pulling off one boundary every two overs to keep the rate reasonable. Chennai did manage to break the shackles in the 12th over of the innings, managing 11 off it. Du Plessis got his 2nd fifty of the tournament in just 42 balls despite not being at his fluent best. The Proteas batsman survived a close run out call in the last ball of the 13th over and helped his team get to 89/0 with plenty of hitting power left in the shed.
The opening pair of Badrinath (57) and Du Plessis(58) continued to make merry and put on over 100 for the first wicket. The duo upped the ante in the 15th over by clobbering 16 runs off it to set the tone for what was to follow.
Pune though hit back in the next over as Marlon Samuels took out both the openers, caught at square leg, with clever changes of pace. Raina (0) too followed suit soon after as he was bounced out to fine leg by the best bowler of the day Ashish Nehra in the next over. That flurry of wickets brought the busy pair of Dwayne Bravo and MS Dhoni together who began to up the scoring significantly. Short cameo's from Bravo (12 off 8) and Ravindra Jadeja (7 from 3) in support of a blistering 28* off 12 balls from skipper MS Dhoni which included 18 taken off the last over took CSK to a defendable 165/5 in their 20 overs on a track that seemed to hold up a touch with the older ball.
In pursuit of 166 for victory, the Pune Warriors got off to a rare poor start. Their in-form openers were hurriedly sent back to the pavilion by the Sri Lankan new ball bowler Nuwan Kulasekara. Robin Uthappa was the first to go for 8 after being caught at mid off while his partner Jesse Ryder too departed with score on just 26, caught brilliantly by Bravo after a miscue from the Kiwi. Manish Pandey and skipper Sourav Ganguly looked like resurrecting the chase and put 27 for the 3rd wicket before Pandey's (13) ambitious hoick was taken smartly by Badrinath running in from extra cover.
Ganguly too followed suit in the 10th over for 24 miscuing a lofted shot off left arm spinner Shadab Jakati. Marlon Samuels and Steve Smith continued the fight though and showed some aggressive intent to take the team to a reasonable 84/4 after 12 overs, keeping Pune's hopes of a win still very much alive.
The Samuels and Smith pairing put on 33 runs for the fifth wicket in just 22 balls with some enterprising strokeplay. Samuels took the attack to the left arm spinner Jakati and his fellow countryman Dwayne Bravo to keep Pune in the hunt. His charge though was ended by a clever piece of bowling from Ravi Ashwin, who beat him in flight and had him caught on the drive at extra cover after Samuels had made a useful 26.
With 69 still needed from 40 balls, Angelo Mathews walked in and built another good partnership with Steve Smith. With the burden of being the last recognised batting pair, Smith and Mathews were careful in their shot selection and although they didn't score many boundaries, they ran very well between the wickets and put on a valuable 44 runs from the next 30 balls and reduced the equation to a getable 25 runs from the last 2 overs.
Unfortunately though, when the time to launch the final onslaught arrived, Pune faltered. The usually very reliable Smith holed out for 23, right on the edge of the long on boundary and that left the much less proficient Pune tail exposed. With 21 needed off the last over, Pune's only hope Angelo Mathews was bowled for 27 by Dwayne Bravo to end the fightback. The tailenders couldn't muster anything spectacular and fell 14 runs short of Chennai, thereby handing the home side a confidence boosting 2 points.
Chennai avenged their defeat to Pune and will continue to enjoy home comforts when they face the Rajasthan Royals next on Saturday the 21st. Their opponents Pune have now lost 2 in a row and will face the buoyant Delhi Daredevils next in Delhi also on the same day.
Chennai: S Badrinath, F du Plessis, S Raina, MS Dhoni, D Bravo, W Saha, R Jadeja, S Jakati, D Bollinger, N Kulasekara, R Ashwin
Pune: S Ganguly, R Uthappa, J Ryder, M Pandey, B Kumar, M Samuels, S Smith, A Mathews, M Kartik, A Nehra, R Sharma
Chennai Super Kings 165/5(20 overs, 8.25 runs per over)
F du Plessis 58(48) M Samuels 3/39
S Badrinath 57(48) A Nehra 2/23
Pune Warriors 151/7 (20 overs, 7.55 runs per over)
A Mathews 27(22) N Kulasekara 2/10
M Samuels 26(24) D Bravo 2/28
Chennai win by 14 runs
File Photograph Copyright: Michael Henn
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