It was a comprehensive victory for the Chennai Super Kings, romping home to a ten-wicket victory over the Kings XI Punjab. Winning the toss, Dhoni had no hesitation in letting the home side have first use of the Mohali Pitch. Here are some quick flicks from the Mohali fixture:
Shaky start for KXIP
High on confidence after a professional thumping of the Pune side a few days back, the KXIP were off to a shaky start. True, they seemed to be off and running by the second over. But a neat catch by Mike Hussey at short fine leg saw the end of Gilchrist, and a miscued scoop did Mandeep Singh in, a running Bravo doing the needy. Vohra and Hussey tried to stabilize, but the former soon left after holding out to Hussey just inside the boundary line.
KXIP’s steadied ship runs into another storm
David Hussey and Gurkeerat Singh steadied the innings somewhat, while at the same time scoring at a brisk pace. The duo added 56 for the fourth wicket. The KXIP were at a comfortable 106/3 at the end of 14 overs, and seemed set for a 160-170 score. But they both left in a matter of deliveries to leave the Kings XI reeling. And the want of set batsmen at the fag end of their innings showed tellingly, with none of their lower middle order batsmen nor the tail-enders managing to connect bat to ball. Their wickets fell like a pack of cards, the last 5 falling for a paltry 15 odd runs.
Bravo has a ‘field day’, literally
The affable West Indian was the destructor in chief, claiming three wickets in his allotted four overs, with none of the home side’s batsmen managing to read his wily change of pace. To add to that, he also grabbed three catches, and a dropped chance could have made it four otherwise. ‘Dropped’ is a harsh word really, as it would surely have been amongst the catches of the tournament had it been taken at long-off.
Chawla does one for the shutterbugs
Coming in at No.8, Chawla drove the first delivery he faced through cover for an exquisite boundary, one that a top-order batsman would pay for. And on the follow through, the bat was kept raised for a fleeting moment longer than usual, appreciating the shot; the kind of stance one would associate with Sachin.
Kings of the field
Both the sides put up an impressive performance with regard to their fielding. Raina, Jadeja, Bravo, Hussey, and in the end Dhoni himself, lit up the stadium with their athleticism. And for the Punjab side, they too were scintillating, except for a few glitches. One would say that the Super Kings fared a bit better, what with Chawla dropping Hussey off a regulation chance, or a few nasty misfields in the outfield, or Gilchrist missing an easy stumping opportunity. Nevertheless, the likes of Mandeep, Gurkeerat and others threw themselves around the field, saved quite a few runs and bought their team some time to defer the defeat.
Mike, Murali make merry
They started cautiously, and never looked in a hurry whatsoever, managing 38 at the end of the powerplay. Their tardy approach continued till the 12th over after which Hussey let himself loose. Some blistering cover-drives upped the ante a bit. Vijay seemed quite content with playing the second fiddle, and ended up with a fifty himself at a run-a-ball, the pace quite uncharacteristic of him. Mike Hussey ended up with a fine 72, striking at about 150. This is also the highest and the only century stand in the IPL this year thus far.
Hussey lives dangerously
An are-you-kidding-me moment. Second ball of the 7th over, Hussey played it to Ryan Harris at mid-off and set off for a quick single. Harris’s direct underarm hit had Hussey scurrying and diving to make his ground, and the television replays seemed to suggest that he was short of his ground. It was a close call, but one angle definitively suggested that one bail was airborne with Hussey’s bat on the line at the bowler’s end. Maybe the TV umpire made a faux pas and pressed the wrong button.