CSK Mr Dependable Suresh Raina scored a scintillating ton © IANS
Chennai Super Kings’ batting mainstay Suresh Raina scored a brilliant century in the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) against the Kings XI Punjab at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Devarchit Varma relives the high-scoring clash between the two explosive sides.
It is a well-known fact that among the star-studded Indian batting line-ups that have taken field on so many occasions in T20s, there has been a single batsman who has touched the glorious three-figure mark in the format. Suresh Raina has been a pillar of strength in the Indian batting line-up since past couple of years, and it was not a surprise when he donned the same cap while playing for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL.
While playing at their fortress — the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai — the Super Kings have deployed the strategy of batting first and putting up a big score many a time, and have then strangled the opposition with some quality slow bowling in the second innings. This strategy was taken by the CSK in the 45th match of IPL 2013 against the Kings XI Punjab. Wriddhiman Saha and Michael Hussey had set things off in style. Saha struck a four and a six each but fell in the fourth over after scoring a rapid 18 off 15 balls early on.
In walked Raina. All eyes were on him to take Chennai ahead. With the dependable Hussey at the crease on the other end, Raina had the freedom to go for his runs and without worry. He did not get off to a brisk start, but was good enough early on to punish the loose deliveries. He scored one boundary each off David Hussey and Piyush Chawla to keep the scoreboard ticking. It was in the 10th over of the innings Raina gave a glimpse of what was in store for KXIP when he clobbered a six off David Hussey.
Raina and Michael Hussey added 55 runs for the second wicket, and it was on the first ball of the 12th over that the latter was dismissed. However, Raina was all set by then and looked ready to pounce on hapless KXIP in the remaining overs. He immediately hit a six after Michael Hussey’s dismissal and hit a four in the next over of R Sathish despite Mahendra Singh Dhoni being run out cheaply. On the last ball of the 15th over Raina took a single off Chawla to bring up his half-century off 32 balls studded with five boundaries and two sixes. Raina was in good form back in those days, and a big knock was due from the left-hander.
Raina unleashed himself in the 16th over of the game, clobbering two sixes off Manpreet Gony to add 16 runs from the over. What was spectacular about both the sixes was that they were hit right above the bowler’s head. In the next over, Raina punished Sathish as the bowler was hit for two consecutive fours and a six to make it 18 from the over. The first ball of the next over was again slammed for a six. After 19 overs, Raina was 89 not out and everyone wondered if there was a century on cards here.
As Praveen Kumar came on to bowl the final over KXIP expected him to do a good job with his medium-pacers. However, Raina’s plans were to attack and it was clear when the third ball of the over was sent out of the park for a six. There was a loud appeal for leg-before on the fourth ball, but Raina and Ravindra Jadeja managed to steal two runs in between. The fifth ball was nudged towards off, and after completing a single, Raina exploded in celebrations punching the air and lived the moment. Raina remained unbeaten on 100 off just 53 balls, with the help of seven sixes and six fours. While the first 50 for Raina came in 32 balls, the second had come in only 21 balls.
Chennai went on to post a massive total of 186 for four after 20 overs, and despite a counter-attack from Shaun Marsh with a fine 51-ball 73 and David Miller’s half-century, KXIP fell short of the target and lost the game by 15 runs. Raina, for his brilliant hundred, was named Man of the Match.
Chennai Super Kings 186 for 4 in 20 overs (Michael Hussey 35, Suresh Raina 100*; Parvinder Awana 2 for 29) beat Kings XI Punjab 171 for 6 in 20 overs (Shaun Marsh 73, David Miller 51*; Dwayne Bravo 3 for 34, Mohit Sharma 2 for 31) by 15 runs.
Man of the Match: Suresh Raina
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(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)