After a miserable run of defeats that had seen them drop out of the play-off positions, the Chennai Super Kings used Friday's game against the IPL's basement side to resurrect their season. Cameron White struck his third half-century in seven games to give the Chargers hope, but his teammates' failure to adapt to a surface that got increasingly slower condemned the side to a 10-run defeat.
Chasing 161 for victory, the Chargers seemed in control at halfway, with 76 on the board and only Parthiv Patel back in the pavilion. But then an absurd gift from Dame Fortune swung the game Chennai's way. Dwayne Bravo was never going to catch a fiercely struck drive from White, but the ball ricocheted off his ankle to strike the stumps with Shikhar Dhawan yards out of his crease.
Kumar Sangakkara made just one from five balls and from overs 11 to 16, the Chargers managed a paltry 30. White struck two sixes off Ravindra Jadeja to raise visions of an upset, but a terrific throw from the same man in the penultimate over ended his 53-ball 77.
Chennai's innings had been similarly stop-start. The recalled Murali Vijay struck two fours before miscuing a pull and it was left to Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina to put together the sort of partnership that the team has lacked in recent games. Raina smashed two sixes and a four in a Veer Pratap Singh over that went for 21 as Chennai scored 82 in the first half of their innings. Both men failed to build on starts though and after a scratchy 34 from MS Dhoni, it needed a late cameo from Bravo to lift the total to 160.
Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, playing just his third game of the season, was the surprise bowling star with 1 for 13, while Dale Steyn once again harassed batsmen with pace and carry. But as has been the case for most of the season, the Chargers were slipshod in the field, dropping catches and failing to effect stops. In a close game, it was the big difference.