Scorecard | Match photos | Bangalore favourites | Rohit resolute
MOHALI: In a match that was elevated to a higher plane of existence by the presence of Sir Ravindra Jadeja, Chennai Super Kings, his much-obliged side, out-classed Kings XI Punjab by ten wickets.
The great man, however, besides exerting himself upon the contest merely by dint of personality, bore little on the result.
The stars responsible for Chennai’s first win of the season, instead, at Mohali on Wednesday, were Dirk Nannes and openers Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay, who worked alongside a hospitable host that refused to hang on to their chances defending a modest total.
Hussey hit an unbeaten 86 in 54 balls and Vijay a composed fifty after both were granted ‘lives’, helping Chennai chase down the strictly-average 138 that Nannes had confined Punjab to. Hussey was first handed a third-umpire mediated run-out reprieve when he had scored 22 and another on 25 when leg-spinner Piyush Chawla dropped him off his own bowling.
In the same over from Chawla, Adam Gilchrist missed a straight-forward stumping of Murai Vijay, then on 17. And that was the end of that.
Hussey helped himself to another big IPL fifty and crossed 1,000 runs in the tournament – now into its sixth edition. Vijay chipped in with a controlled half-century of his own, only giving in to his over-riding tendency to attack late in the chase, when he clobbered R. Sathish for six.
Sixty-one of the last runs of the chase came in just five overs as the unbroken opening stand reeled in the target with 16 balls to spare.
Punjab were earlier confined to the moderation of 138 after Nannes shot out their openers early on. The South African conceded just 17 and picked up two early wickets, including that of the dangerous Gilchrist.
Punjab recovered from the losses through David Hussey (41) and young Gurkeerat Singh (31), who put on in 56 in 43 balls for the fourth wicket. But a another phase of ruin – this time fatal - followed the single flourish.
South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris impressed on IPL debut with two for 27 from his four, but most of Dwayne Bravo's three wickets had very little to do with good bowling.
Punjab lost their last seven wickets in five overs for just 32 runs after Hussey's and Gurkeerat’s departure.
Their beginning had been rather unspectacular too. Gichrist was taken smartly by Michael Hussey at deep leg gully. Vijay dropped David Hussey (then on 12) at mid off, but Manan Vohra (16) was out chasing a successive boundary.
David Hussey made Chennai pay somewhat for the dropped catch, but was out when they needed him to accelerate. Gurkeerat was responsible for a horrible shot, a top-edged sweep attempted from outside off that swirled to Nannes in the region of deep square leg.
Punjab’s tail of Sathish, Chawla and Ryan Harris sagged like a sick dog’s as all holed out to the deep, before ‘last man’ Parvinder Awana was run out by a glove-less Dhoni behind the wicket, curtailing the innings one ball short of the stipulated quota.