Big bats drive Chennai  to 196

MS Dhoni clobbered 41 off 19 balls, studded with three sixes and as many boundaries. AFP

By Jamie Alter

Jaipur: May 9, 2011

Welcome runs from Murali Vijay built on the good work done by his fellow opening partner Michael Hussey, and breezy knocks from Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni delivered the late surge to propel Chennai Super Kings to 196 against Rajasthan Royals. The final nine overs of the innings yielded 107 runs with Dhoni devastating when targeting the straight boundaries and that allowed CSK to post their highest total of the season. Shane Warne, in his final appearance in front of the home fans in Jaipur, will be feeling the pinch after deciding to insert CSK.

It was Hussey who got the ball rolling for CSK, swatting the first ball of the match for four behind square. A flowing drive sent the ball scurrying past cover, before Hussey began reverse-sweeping and bisecting backward point and third man with deft placement. With Vijay turning in another scratchy start and being reprieved on four by Ajinky Rahane at point it was up to Hussey to play aggressively and he did so well. His handiwork against short deliveries was especially sparkling, with a pull and cut off consecutive deliveries from Amit Singh standing out.

Using his feet superbly, Hussey attacked Shane Warne and Johan Botha but his aggression against spin was short-lived. Looking to slog-sweep Botha for six, he was bowled for 46 off 30 balls. By this time Vijay had found some momentum courtesy a six off Warne – and he converted a shaky start to ease past his fifty off 35 balls with another six off Siddharth Trivedi.

Two big overs, the 12th and 13th, swung the impetus firmly CSK s way and by the second strategic timeout they were firm on 140 for two and set for the final surge. A moment of complacency cost Vijay his wicket on 53, but Raina had set himself up on 33 off 21 heading into the final four overs.

Dhoni got stuck into Trivedi, lofting him for a huge six and squirting boundaries either side of point, and then smacked Shane Watson down the ground with disdain during an 18-run over. Raina was bowled in the penultimate over attempting to emulate Dhoni, but Dhoni continued to hit straight down the ground with a vengeance. His third six, off Singh, was another monster hit and even though the final over was a tidy one, CSK will feel they have plenty on the board.

Brief Scores: CSK 196 for 3 in 20 overs (Murali Vijay 53, Michael Hussey 46, Suresh Raina 43, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 41*; Johan Botha 1 for 23) vs RR.

Full Scorecard

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. He is the author of two books, The History of World Cup Cricket and Field of Dreams: The Story of the Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)