Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Match Report: M 3 - Chennai Super Kings vs Titans
Mighty CSK trump Titans in Ranchi run fest
The CSK run-chase was rocked in the first over when Roelof van der Merwe breached past the defence of Murali Vijay. After a couple of quiet overs, during which Suresh Raina picked up three boundaries, the southpaw turned on the heat when he pulled a Morne Morkel bouncer into the stands at midwicket. In that very over – the fourth of the innings – Morkel lost his radar, offered lots of width, sprayed it down the leg side and banged it short too. One particular delivery landed so far down the leg-side that the ‘keeper couldn’t get his hands to it and the ball raced away to the fence.
The following over from Marchant de Lange cost the Titans 14 runs. Raina dispatched a length delivery into the stands at square-leg, after which the bowler delivered one wide outside off stump and the ball sailed between the wicketkeeper and slip to the boundary.
The 89-run partnership – which included smart running between the wickets – was broken when Raina chipped one from David Wiese to mid-off; Raina made 47 from 28 balls.
However, Hussey was unperturbed and true to his reputation kept accumulating runs. While Raina’s knock was all about muscle and power, Hussey’s effort was all about timing and finding gaps. He too perished for 47 in the 10th over after he miscued Morkel to de Villiers at mid-off.
Then, Dwayne Bravo’s 26-ball 38 hastened the run-chase. The Trinidadian was involved in a 58-run partnership for the fourth wicket with S Badrinath, who played his part to perfection. But there was a minor stutter towards the end with Bravo, MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja falling in the space of 11 runs. Ironically for the Titans it was their own lad who scored the winning runs for CSK – Albie Morkel struck Rowan Richards through covers to take CSK home in the 19th over. Badrinath remained unconquered with a run-a-ball 20.
Earlier in the evening, AB de Villiers played a savage knock after the opening pair of Henry Davids (52) and Jacques Rudolph (21) laid a solid foundation with a 46-run stand for the Titans.
Batting at No.3, AB de Villiers took his time to get used to the pace and bounce of the pitch, and once he found his feet, he turned brutal. The first sign of aggression came in the 11th over when he deposited Jadeja into the stands past midwicket. There was no stopping him thereafter; it rained fours and sixes from his willow. From 11 after his first nine deliveries, he raced to his half-century in 27 balls. It didn’t matter to him who the bowler was, what kind of a delivery it was or where the ball pitched; once he was in the zone, he was ruthless. He hit three boundaries and seven sixes – including the biggest hit of the competition thus far – in his 36-ball 77 before falling in the 19th over. The 29-year-old hit Jadeja for consecutive sixes and a boundary in the 19th over and attempted to send one into orbit yet again, but miscued and holed out to the man at long-off.
Davids (52) and Farhaan Behardien (21) were the other important contributors in the Titans innings. The Titans looked set for a total in excess of 200, but eventually finished the 20 overs at 185/5.
For the Chennai Super Kings, the new-ball pair of Mohit Sharma and Jason Holder were the best bowlers on the night, though they did not pick up any wickets. The usually tidy R Ashwin and Jadeja struggled with discipline, primarily because of the dew in the outfield. Dwayne Bravo picked up two wickets to finish with figures of 34/2.
Trivia: 23 of the 42 deliveries bowled by R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were fuller in length. The Titans batsmen scored 59 runs of these deliveries.
Chennai Super Kings won the match despite their batsmen scoring fewer runs than their opponents. That was primarily because the Titans were guilty of conceding 24 runs through wides, which in the final analysis had a telling impact on the result of the match.
Suresh Raina scored 21 runs off the nine short deliveries bowled at him by the Titans bowlers.
Man of the Match: Suresh Raina for his 28-ball 47.