New Delhi:A splendid top-order batting combined with devastating bowling helped Chennai Super Kings record their third win on the rot as they outclassed Deccan Chargers by 78 runs in their action-packed Indian Premier League match on Monday.
Chennai top-order fired in unison to score impressive 178 for three after opting to bat, with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (52) being the top scorer.
Deccan, who came into clash with two successive defeats, never recovered from a catastrophic start and were bundled out for a paltry 100 in 14.4 overs.
Had there not been a counter-attack by Dwyane Smith (49) and Rohit Sharma (21) Deccan would have slumped to a more humiliating defeat.
With this win Chennai also toppled Deccan Chargers at the top of the points table, pushing them to number four.
Chargers had no idea that a disastrous start was waiting for them as their top three batsmen - Adam Gilchirst (0), Herschelle Gibbs (0) and VVS Laxman (0) - went back to hut without bothering the scorer.
From here, Smith and Sharma revived the innings with a dramatic 72-run stroke-filled partnership but could finish it off for their side.
Shadab Jakati excelled for Chennai with four wickets but it was pace duo of Albie Morkel (2/24) and Sudeep Tyagi (1/9) who set the platform for an exciting win.
The rot began with the golden duck of Gilchrist, trapped by Albie Morkel in the first ball of the innings.
Soon Gibbs joined his skipper in the dug out as strapping paceman Sudeep Tyagi disturbed his timber when the South African danced down the wicket.
Deccan were still coping with the twin-blow that Laxman began his walk back, becoming second victim of Morkel. The scorecard was reading unbelievable figures of one run for three wickets. It could have been four wickets two runs later had anyone caught Smith off Morkel in the same over.
When everyone thought that Deccan had reached a beyond redemption stage, the spectators were served with more drama as Smith and Sharma repaired the innings with incredible hitting.
The duo put on display ruthless batting as they treated Chennai bowlers with utter disdain, hitting them to every corner of the park. Smith hit five sixes and two fours in his 23-ball explosive knock.
Left-arm spinner Jakati broke the partnership by dismissing Sharma and then ran through the middle-order. Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan (2/11) bowled in tandem with him and accounted for two batsmen.
Earlier, Chennai skipper Dhoni, who promoted himself up the order to shrug off the lean patch, struck form with an unbeaten 58 to guide his side to a decent total.
Dhoni shared a crucial 54-run partnership for the third wicket with left-handed Suresh Raina (32) after their openers laid the platform for a challenging total
Dhoni, whose willow was silent so far, made full use of the good start give by Matthew Hayden (43) and Murali Vijay (31), as he batted through the innings.
Raina too played his part by an explosive 19-ball 32, giving enough time to Dhoni find his touch and shape innings.
Dhoni raised his first half-century of the second edition of the event in the last over when he hit RP Singh for two boundaries. His third IPL fifty came off 37-balls helped by six shots to the ropes and over the fence.
Earlier, Hayden and Vijay gave a good start to their side, putting up 61 together, though they began in contrasting fashion.
While the former Australian opener was throwing his bat at each and everything, Vijay was extremely careful with his shot selection, going for elegant drives.
By the time Chennai crossed the fifty-run mark inside six overs, Hayden had hit one six each off RP Singh, Ryan Harris and Rohit Sharma.
Hayden then welcomed Shoaib Maqsusi with two fours but his third attempt failed when he hit one straight to RP Singh.
Dhoni and Vijay, going steady, took the team to 84 at the half-way mark. Vijay opened his shoulders after the break and hit Pragyan Ojha for a six but failed when he tried to do an encore against T Suman.
After giving his team second breakthrough Suman was severely punished by new man in Raina, who hit him for two huge sixes and one hour in his next over.
Dhoni cut loose after the 15th over and hit some really powerful shots to fetch boundaries.