Raina and Morkel set up easy win for CSK

Deccan Chargers batsman Sunny Sohal is watched by Chennai Super Kings wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as he misses a shot to get out during the IPL Twenty20 match between Chennai Super Kings and Deccan Chargers. AFP

By Jamie Alter

Chennai: May 1, 2011

Between overs 15 and 19, Chennai Super Kings scored 64 to wreck Deccan Chargers plans of chasing a target in the 130s and that proved the difference between the teams. A sluggish start saw CSK struggle to force the pace initially, but importantly they kept wickets in hand to allow Suresh Raina and Albie Morkel step on the gas. DC were given an explosive start by Sunny Sohal, but once he was dismissed for 56 the chase petered out into a dull affair and the visitors finished 19 short. With this win, CSK have moved back into the top four.

Murali Vijay ate up 14 deliveries before he made room to an arm ball from Pragyan Ojha and heard the death rattle, and Hussey was dropped by Cameron White at square leg in the same over. Just 34 runs came from the Powerplay six runs under what CSK have averaged this season during that block – with just three boundaries. With the bowlers doing well to take pace off the ball, many of the batsmen s shots dribbled into the outfield instead of speeding to the boundary.

Raina chose to concentrate on timing the ball as best he could; he refrained from going for his typical expansive drives and heaves over the leg side, and instead scored with pushes and nudges. Hussey dropped on 10 – too worked the angles for singles as DC kept the batsmen on a leash.

The pair saw off a quiet five-over period that included just two boundaries, pinching singles before knocking off boundaries to give the innings momentum.

The push came from Hussey, who reverse-swept Amit Mishra for consecutive fours before falling for 46, and Raina then took over the role superbly. Ishant Sharma returned to be cut firmly for four, Mishra came back on and was taken for two sixes, and then 15 were scored off Harmeet Singh s third over. Raina s exit for 59 was followed by Morkel smashing a hat-trick of sixes off Ishant, and CSK had turned an attainable total into a commanding one.

After that demoralizing finish, DC needed some pizazz of their own and in came in the form of Sohal, who bludgeoned 56 off 30 balls in an opening stand of 71 with Shikhar Dhawan. The plan from CSK s new-ball pair was to dig the ball in short to Sohal, whose approach against pace was simple: make room and throw bat at ball. Sohal s first 17 runs included a miscued six over third man and two edged fours; two inside-out shots were followed by a controlled edge to third man as Sohal leaped back to about the fifth stump. It was an explosive start powered by some plucky batting.

That was enough for Dhoni to decide that his fast men weren’t the answer. Ravichandran Ashwin came on and conceded only five in the fourth of the Powerplay overs, but Sohal took on Suraj Randiv with gusto before raising fifty off just 25 balls with six off Ashwin. Thereafter Dhoni rotated his slow bowlers, and it was Shadab Jakati who broke a powerful opening stand of 71 with DC cruising. Sohal tried one improvisation too far and was bowled through his legs attempting to reverse-sweep a quicker dart.

DC needed one of their hitters to carry on after making starts, but they all failed in that regard.

Neither Dhawan nor Bharat Chipli was able to pierce the gaps, and when Dhawan dragged Jakati onto his stumps the momentum switched back to CSK. A third wicket, as Morkel was recalled and immediately obliged by producing a leading edge off Chipli, stemmed DC further and Bollinger also emerged to pick up Kumar Sangakkara for 15.

With the required rate climbing beyond 12, White s inability to time his shots ensured CSK held the initiative. Morkel finished off a good evening by dismissing White and JP Duminy in an excellent 19th over, and the challenge of scoring 23 off the last six balls was too much for DC.

Brief Scores: CSK 165 for 5 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 59, Michael Hussey 46; Pragyan Ojha 3 for 26, Harmeet Singh 1 for 26) bt DC 146 for 8 in 20 overs (Sunny Sohal 56; Albie Morkel 3 for 38, Shadab Jakati 2 for 23) by 19 runs.

Man of the Match: Albie Morkel

(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)