Pune Warriors slumped to back to back defeats as Chennai Super Kings won their home game by 13 runs today. Chasing a challenging total of 164, Pune Warriors could only manage 151 in their reply.
Pune won the toss and Ganguly, surprisingly, asked Chennai to bat. On a track that has always favored the side batting first, Chennai Super Kings piled up a challenging 164/5. Murali Vijay gave way to Wridhiman Saha and Albie Morkel was replaced by Shadab Jakati. Pune Warriors brought in Murali Kartik at the expense of their best bowler Ashok Dinda.
The new opening pair of Badrinath and Faf du Plessis, finally, gave the Super Kings their first 100 run partnership at the top of the order. While du Plessis carried on his fine form to get to yet another 50 plus innings, Badrinath proved his promotion worthwhile with a nice 57. Both openers had their share of luck as Badrinath survived a stumping and a catch while du Plessis first had a catch dropped and then was saved by the third umpire in a close run out call.
Though the openers gave Chennai a steady start, they never ran away with the game thanks to a pitch that was on the slower side. Both openers, however, fell to Samules trying to launch him into the stands. The final push for the innings came from the captain MS Dhoni, who clobbered a 12 ball 28. Dhoni and with the lower order smashed 39 of the last three overs to get Chennai to 164.
The Pune Warriors bowled a nice tight line and kept the runs in check with Samuels picking up three and Nehra grabbing two wickets. Pune, however, would have liked to put in a better fielding effort.
The Warriors chase got off to a bad start as they lost Uthappa in the second over, when Ashwin pulled off a superb catch diving forward. Jesse Ryder followed suit as he also feel to some delightful catching from the Super Kings. This time it was Dwayne Bravo, who grabbed Ryder at deep mid wicket and celebrated it with a jig. Saurav Ganguly looked in fluent touch as he caressed Bollinger for three fours in an over but Dada’s vigil came to an end when he skied one from Jakati after scoring 24.
The Chennai Super Kings kept chipping away at the wickets as the Warriors tried to play the big shots on a sluggish pitch. Manish Pandey and Marlon Samuels perished in search of quick runs but a partnership of 44 runs between Angelo Mathews and Steve Smith got Pune closer to the target. The dew factor also helped the Warriors as the spinners struggled to get a grip on the ball and the fielders kept losing their footing. Steve Smith fell to Bollinger for 23 while Mathews missed a full toss from Bravo after a well made 27.
For Chennai, Kulasekara, Doug Bollinger and Dwayne Bravo kept their nerves to snatch the game out from the grasp of the Warriors. They were well supported by Jakati and Ashwin. While Kulasekara and Bravo got two wickets each, Ashwin, Bollinger and Jakati settled for one a piece.
Chennai Super Kings has been inconsistent this IPL and needed this win desperately to get their confidence going before they take on the in form Rajasthan Royals. Pune Warriors got off to a brilliant start in the tournament but the last two matches has delivered a sudden jolt to their winning momentum. Ganguly would like his team to fix their fielding and their death bowling before they face the dangerous Delhi Daredevils.
Chennai Super Kings 164/5 (20/20 ov)
Pune Warriors 151/7 (20.0/20 ov)
Man of the Match: Nuwan Kulasekara