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Both MS Dhoni (left) and Suresh Raina scored quickfire half-centuries © IANS (File Photo)

By Aayush Puthran

Sep 26, 2013

Suresh Raina’s fine knock of 84 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s brutal hitting took Chennai Super Kings to 12-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in a Group B clash in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 at Ranchi on Thursday.

The clash of the Indian Premier League (IPL) sides was dominated by Chennai for most parts of the match as they continued their unbeaten streak in the tournament.

Having been set a target of 203 runs to win, Sunrisers began their chase comfortably scoring at a rate above nine runs an over. Parthiv Patel started off the innings with a crisp boundary and continued to hit cracking shots. He put on a quickfire partnership for the opening wicket with skipper Shikhar Dhawan to lay a strong platform for the middle-order to launch a fiery assault. Their partnership got a longer rope when Dhawan was dropped by Jason Holder in the eighth over. The two left-handers were cruising along at 87 for no loss at the end of the ninth over.

However, it was a day when Dhoni could do no wrong. He introduced Raina, who first effected a run-out of his own bowling to dismiss Patel after a confusion occurred in the middle to bring an end to a strong partnership between the openers and then bowled JP Duminy on the last ball of the over. The match turned on its head from thereon. Sunrisers skipper Dhawan was caught behind in the next over off Ashwin’s bowling while he looked well set on 48.

However, by that point, they were already left far behind in the chase. Apart from Darren Sammy’s slogs that landed beyond the ropes, there was little for Sunrisers to cheer for. Wickets fell at regular interval as victory seemed just a formality for Chennai.

Sammy battled through a hamstring injury to hit a half-century in 24 balls before getting dismissed. The knock included two boundaries and five huge sixes to keep Sunrisers in the chase.

Even before the match had began, it was not surprising to know why the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium (JSCA) witnessed a rather good crowd as compared to the other stadiums during the tournament. Even before the start of the match, Dhoni and his hairstyle was a bigger talking point than anything else in the stadium.

It was a critical toss that Sunrisers skipper Dhawan won as the dew was expected to play a crucial role in the match.

Although the ground staff had applied the anti-dew spray on the grass; it wasn’t good enough to stop dew from forming even before the match began. With temperature around 26 degree Celsius at the start of the match and expected to fall from thereon, it was obvious that the team batting second would hold a clear advantage.

Ian Bishop, who did the pitch report stated that the pitch was quite damp. Although there was enough grass on one end, the Pavilion End was devoid of the green cover and good enough for the ball to hold on.

Earlier, Raina took Chennai to a total of 202 for four in 20 overs with a superlative innings of 84. The authoritative 57-ball innings was laced with nine hits to the fence and a huge six as he crossed the 500-run mark in CLT20 history. It was also Raina’s 25th half-century in the shortest format, apart from two centuries.

However, it was the Chennai skipper Dhoni who stole the limelight with some brutal hitting towards the end of the innings to the entertainment of his home crowd as he brought up the fastest fifty in CLT20 history. His 16-ball effort overtook Kieron Pollard’s 18-ball 50. Dhoni finished with an unbeaten 63 off 19 balls. The Chennai skipper didn’t wait too long to entertain the crowd as he used his strong wrists to muscle a straight six of just his second ball. From thereon he was dealing mostly in sixes, as he smashed seven more in his 19-ball innings, the biggest of them crossing 101 metres. This included five sixes in the 18th over off Perera. His unbeaten knock of 63 helped Chennai go past the 200-run mark.

Brief scores:

Chennai Super Kings 202 for 4 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 84, MS Dhoni 63*; Dale Steyn 2 for 23) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 190 for 7 in 20 overs (Darren Sammy 50, Shikhar Dhawan 48; Dwayne Bravo 2 for 30) by 12 runs.

Man of the Match: Suresh Raina

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(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)