Set a daunting 165-run target after a late blitz from Chennai skipper MS Dhoni, Pune had a tall mountain to climb to move above eighth-placed Delhi Daredevils. However, Mahela Jayawardene’s men, who play tomorrow, can be rest assured that their position is intact.
Pune could only manage 127 for nine in their 20 overs and are all but knocked out of contention from the playoffs.
The Pune openers, Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa, seemed to have gotten their chase off to a good start, getting 21 runs off the first two overs. But as it turned out, it was just a cruel smokescreen for the home fans, who seemed to be outnumbered by a sea of yellow at Pune.
Finch hit a boundary in the third over of the innings, bowled Mohit Sharma, before the pacer got the first blow in to Pune’s fort. Mohit got the fifth ball of his over to shape away from the right-handed Finch, who could only find a thick edge that carried easily to MS Dhoni. Tirumalsetti Suman, who had come into the side in place of Mithun Manhas, didn’t do much to cement his spot as he was trapped leg-before by Mohit first ball. And just like this, Pune were on the backfoot at 26 for two.
Things were to get worse for Pune the next over, after Uthappa set off on a run that was never there after punching the ball towards Suresh Raina at cover. He was rightly sent back by Yuvraj Singh, but Raina did a Jonty Rhodes as he flew into the stumps ball in hand with Uthappa well short of the crease.
Mohit was to return to inflict more holes into the fort as he had Yuvraj caught behind the next over to make it 43 for four. Pune’s night was summed up with their next wicket to fall. Luke Wright drilled Albie Morkel straight down, only for the South African to kick out and inadvertently deflect the ball onto the stumps, with Steven Smith backing up too far.
The look on Smith’s face as he realized what had just happened told the tale of the Pune Warriors this tournament, who, coupled with some bizarre bad luck, have just not been able to kick-start their season.
It was only a matter of time then before Chennai notched up their eighth win in 10 games.
Chennai Super Kings 164 for 3 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 63*, MS Dhoni 44*; Rahul Sharma 1 for 24) beat Pune Warriors India 127 for 9 in 20 overs (Steven Smith 35, Kane Richardson 26; Mohit Sharma 3 for 21) by 37 runs.