Chennai, May 2 (IANS) Suresh Raina struck a fine unbeaten 100, the third century of Indian Premier League (IPL) season six, to set-up a 15-run win for Chennai Super Kings against Kings XI Punjab at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here Thursday.
With their seventh consecutive win, Super Kings consolidated their position at the top of the table with 18 points from 11 matches and almost have a foot in the play-offs.
For Kings XI Punjab, it was their third consecutive loss and their play-off chances are getting tough as they are lying sixth with eight points from 10 matches.
Riding on Raina's 53-ball 100, Super Kings piled up a mammoth 186 for four in 20 overs. Mike Hussey (35) and Albie Morkel, 23 not out of 16 balls, also came up with valuable knocks.
Shaun Marsh (73) and David Miller (51 not out) with their 95-run stand for the fourth wicket got Kings XI close but they still fell short by 14 runs, managing 171 for six in 20 overs.
Pacer Mohit Sharma (2/31) gave Chennai a great start by removing Luke Pomersbach (7) and Mandeep Singh (15) within first six overs to leave Kings XI at 36 for two.
Marsh and his compatriot David Hussey (22) got their innings back on track with their 37-run partnership for the third wicket. Hussey departed in his attempt to step up the scoring rate and found Dwayne Bravo at long-off off Ravichandran Ashwin.
With Kings XI at 73/3, Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni introduced Suresh Raina. But Marsh was harsh on Raina, hitting him for two sixes and a four as 19 runs came off in the 12 overs.
It opened the floodgates and in the next seven overs, Kings XI got 76 runs. They needed 19 runs off the last over. But Bravo bowled a sensational last over bagging three wickets and gave away just three runs.
Earlier, opting to bat first, Super Kings lost Wriddhiman Saha (18) early, but Michael Hussey (22) and Raina revived the innings with their steady 55-run stand for the second wicket.
Hussey was stumped by Gurkeerat Singh after he stepped down to charge at leggie Piyush Chawla but missed the line of the ball. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2) was run out that left Super Kings at 92/3.
Raina then tore apart the Kings XI bowling smashing seven fours and six sixes in his 53-ball knock. Albie Morkel also came up with a cameo of 16-ball 23 that pushed the score to 186 for four.