Swashbuckling half-centuries from AB de Villiers (77 off 36 balls) and captain Henry Davids (52 off 43 balls) got the Titans to a commanding total of 185 for five against Chennai Super Kings in their Group B encounter of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2013 at Ranchi.
De Villiers’s knock, coming in one-down, included three fours and as many as seven sixes, and took all the spotlight away from Chennai captain and home boy MS Dhoni’s new hairstyle, which had become the talk of the town prior to the start of the match.
After Dhoni won the toss and opted to bowl, Titans openers Jacques Rudolph and Davids got off to a cautious start, taking just 33 runs from the first six overs. While Rudolph was connecting willow with leather, Davids was seen aimlessly swinging his bat to Chennai bowlers Mohit Sharma and Jason Holder, especially the latter who had a deceptive slower one in his armory. However, whenever Davids did manage to connect, the ball went for a boundary.
Dwayne Bravo’s reputation of a good fielder eventually led to a misunderstanding between the two openers, and Rudolph was run-out via a tidy effort by the West Indian in the seventh over to make it 46 for one. After Rudolph’s dismissal, Davids took it upon himself to do the scoring as he carted off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin over long-on for maximum, before paddling Morne Morkel for four to fine-leg.
New batsman de Villiers got into the action after the halfway mark of the innings, beginning by launching slow left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja into the stands behind deep midwicket. The crack emanating from de Villiers’s blade resonated across the stadium as the South African found the middle of the sweet spot. Bravo was carted over long-on for another half-a-dozen, before Jadeja was dealt with similarly in the next over. The biggest of de Villiers’s sixes travelled 95 metres, as he set the benchmark for the tournament. Titans’ second fifty was brought up in just 25 balls with de Villiers himself going at a strike rate of more than 200.
Davids brought up his half-century off 43 balls by spotting Ashwin’s pause-and-deliver technique and swept him for four. However, he was stumped off the next ball after dancing down to a wide ball and missing it completely. It ended a 76-run second-wicket partnership that was brought up off just 37 balls. The new man Farhaan Behardien did not allow CSK to breathe easy as he smashed Bravo for two consecutive boundaries to take the score to 135 after 15 overs, setting up a blistering finale.
The toe end of the bat and the strong forearms of Behardien’s bat was enough to send Ashwin over cow corner, before de Villiers brought up his half-century off just 27 balls with an inside-out smash over long-off in Holder’s over. Then, Bravo got two wickets in an over via the short ball, sending Behardien (21) and David Weise (0) back.
De Villiers, meanwhile, continued with the pyrotechnics and pummelled the bowling in the ‘V’, hitting Jadeja for two sixes and a four in an over, before a miscued biggie led to him being caught at long-off to make it 179 for five in 19. Bravo bowled a quite last over, conceding just six, to end with figures of two for 34, but with his team still facing an uphill task in avoiding defeat.
Titans 185 for 5 in 20 overs (Henry Davids 52, AB de Villiers 77; Dwayne Bravo 2 for 34) vs Chennai Super Kings.