Ranchi could have done with a bit more of a contribution from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but they shouldn't complain after the Chennai Super Kings defeated Titans by four wickets in their Champions League Twenty20 2013 encounter at the JSCA International Stadium on Sunday (September 22). (Match Highlights)
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It was a high-scoring game, set up by AB de Villiers' 77, which helped the Titans set a target of 186. However, Mike Hussey and Suresh Raina put on an 89-run stand that helped Chennai easily complete the chase. (Match pics)
Chennai lost Murali Vijay in the very first over to Roelof van der Merwe, who had one skid off the pitch and clatter the stumps. Titans couldn't build on that though, as Raina and Hussey took over. Raina was on the attack from the go, clattering Rowan Richards for consecutive boundaries. He then smacked Morne Morkel's short ball for six, before Hussey took strike and plundered three fours to take 24 off the over. The two carried on in similar fashion and had the scoreboard ticking over regularly, reducing the required rate. However, the breakthrough came when Wiese deceived Raina with a slower ball, and he holed out to mid-off for 47.
Hussey scurried between the wickets when he needed to, but mainly thundered boundaries. With Morkel brought back into the attack, Hussey again took consecutive fours off him, picking one up beautifully and pulling the next away with power. However, much like Raina, he holed out to mid-off, having made 47 off just 26, after miscuing a full delivery. Chennai were three down for 114.
With two new batsmen in the middle - S Badrinath and Dwayne Bravo - the scoring slowed down. They could afford to take it slow though, since there were plenty of wickets remaining and the required rate was manageable. Badrinath and Bravo put on a steady 58 to inch Chennai closer to the target.
There were wickets late on. Bravo (38) was caught behind off Richards, Dhoni came on, smashed a six off Morkel but holed out to Richards, much to Ranchi's dismay, and Jadeja fell for a first-ball duck. The chase was soon completed though, Chennai ending on 187 for 6, and the stadium erupted in a roar.
Earlier, the Titans did what Chennai do best. They built their innings systematically, first feeling the bowlers out in the opening stages, then adding risk-free runs to set a foundation before striking out in death overs with plenty of wickets to spare.
Henry Davids and Jacques Rudolph faced some tight pace bowling from Mohit Sharma and Jason Holder, but the batsmen roughed it out, picking an odd boundary here and there. As the innings progressed, they started playing their shots - Davids lifted a six off Holder and Rudolph smashed consecutive fours off Mohit.
The first wicket came rather unexpectedly, when Rudolph was run out after straying outside looking for a second run. It brought an end to the 46-run stand, but it also brought De Villiers to the crease, and there started an assault which gave Titans the momentum. Davids, who had inched towards a half-century, took a backseat and allowed De Villiers to take strike.
De Villiers picked on the pacers and spinners alike, striking the ball cleanly. Davids completed his half-century, off 43 balls, sweeping Ashwin away for four. He was dismissed soon after though, when he stepped out, missed his shot and was stumped by Dhoni.
De Villiers brought up his half-century, off just 27 balls, creaming Holder over the long-on fence for six. There were a couple of wickets at the other end, as Farhaan Behardien, after an enterprising 14-ball 21, holed out off Dwayne Bravo. David Wiese, the new man in, lasted all of two balls.
Four down for 154 was no crisis though, and de Villiers set his sights on Ravindra Jadeja. He hit him for three consecutive boundaries - two sixes and four - taking his own tally to 77. However, he fell to Jadeja soon after, miscuing a shot, but his innings had propelled Titans to 185 for 5.
Whatever the Titans did, Chennai did better and that proved the difference on the day.