(Cricinfo) Chennai Super Kings did what they set out to do, successfully chasing down a big total yesterday after putting Titans in to bat. They made it look easier than it was, certainly when Suresh Raina and Michael Hussey were at the crease. Dwayne Bravo batted breezily as well, ensuring the four-wicket win with seven balls to spare. Super Kings had to recover from a bad start in pursuit of 186, after M Vijay was bowled by Roelof van der Merwe in the opening over of the chase. The South African side held the momentum at that stage, having already put up an impressive score courtesy of AB de Villiers’ brutal innings of 77 and plenty of wayward bowling.
But the Titans’ bowlers were more wayward, giving Raina and Hussey the freedom to settle themselves. The two batsmen also had to contend with a 10-minute break due to light failure after the first wicket fell. But once Rowan Richards, Morne Morkel and Marchant de Lange gave away 13, 24 and 14 respectively off the third, fourth and fifth over, it eased the run-rate pressure considerably.
The pair added 89 for the second wicket at over 12 an over before Raina fell to David Wiese in the eighth over. He made 47 off 28 balls with two sixes and five fours, having peppered the open field on the leg-side.
Hussey stayed on for a bit more, but also fell three short of his fifty, in the tenth over. His 47 came off 26 balls, with seven fours and a six. Similar to Raina, his dismissal too was a soft one as Super Kings looked to the next pair to finish the job.
Bravo and S Badrinath added 58 for the fourth wicket, with the West Indies allrounder bringing out his famous lofted shots on the off-side – he struck two inside-out sixes over cover. He fell, and was followed by Dhoni and Jadeja too, but Albie Morkel eased any nerves by picking up the winning runs in the 19th over.
Richards, the left-arm fast bowler, took three wickets, but it came too late for Titans to force the issue.
AB de Villiers was Titans’ star with the bat. He was eventually dismissed in the penultimate over, but not before he had satiated himself with seven sixes and three fours in a 36-ball 77. There was hardly a mis-hit from his bat, and the sound it made for two off his sixes over midwicket was scrumptious.
He ran hard during the 76-run second wicket stand with his captain Henry Davids, who himself got 52 off 43 balls. Davids struck two sixes, one each off Jason Holder and R Ashwin. Their partnership also came at a superb rate, 12.32, with de Villiers contributing 43 runs. His fifty came off just 27 balls and his innings bloated Titan’s total, with expensive overs in the middle-period: 14, 14, 17 and 18 came off the 11th, 12th, 13th and 19th overs. But Dwayne Bravo pulled things back with two wickets in the 18th over and next over, when he took the skier offered by de Villiers off Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja might have got the big wicket, but it was a truly forgettable day for him: apart from being spanked for 49 runs in three overs, he picked up a two-ball duck. Hussey and Raina, though, made sure his off day didn’t cost Super Kings.