Suresh Raina © IANS
Suresh Raina smashed the Dolphins bowlers to all parts to score 90 from 43 balls © IANS

By R Vishal

Sep 22, 2014

It was the eight match of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) and the cricketing idioms belting the ball, carnage from the batsmen etc died a very tame death from the blood thirsty blades of Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina and similarly beastly cameos from Faf du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja down the order. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) simply feasted on a hapless Dolphins bowling attack and it was back to protecting their brittle heads with helmets for the Bengaluru crowd who turned out in large numbers to support their rivals across the border.

Things did not start all that well though. Dwyane Smith launched into the attack and it was a big six back over the bowler Keshav Maharaj’s head and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) was on the march. This was over the long on region. Maharaj again offered some flight and a hint of turn got the toe edge of Smith’s bat and the ball was high up in the air and and Khaya Zondo at long off.

McCullum went after pacer Craig Alexander’s bowling right from the word go. A hint of width was offered and the New Zealand skipper cracked to back-to-back boundaries on the off-side. Then McCullum went one better as he stepped down the track and belted the ball over long-on for a big six. Raina went one better in terms of sheer muscle in Kyle Abbott’s over, which were the building blocks of his knock. He stepped down and hammered a big six over the extra cover boundary and then a misfield at point leaked yet another four. McCullum’s assault continued and he flicked off his pads effortlessly for the ball to hit the boundary fence again.

McCullum’s assault on the bowlers went higher by a few notches and boundaries came thick and fast for CSK as 19 runs was scored from Kyle Abbott’s over, which was the fifth in the innings. The bowler was trying to pitch it short and the New Zealander, who is so adept at pulling and hooking muscled the ball many a mile on the leg side and Raina also got onto the act later with a hook shot that got him a boundary.

Alexander’s medium pacers were easily dispatched by the batsmen and the fifth and sixth sixes of the partnership brought yet another 19 run-over. Raina slammed yet another big six and the score moved to 99 in just eight overs. McCullum missed out on his fifty as Dolphins got a much needed breakthrough when the New Zealand skipper couldn’t get the elevation on the shot and the ball bobbed up high in the air and was safely pouched by the deep square leg fielder. This is when things started to get out of hand for the South African side. It was raining sixes everywhere and there was a point when the Indian southpaw was mistiming the ball out of the park. There was a second where it looked like Raina was going to be caught in the deep by Daryn Smit, but the fielder’s valiant effort bit the dust as the ball went wide of him and hit the fence for another boundary. Raina was closing in on his hundred when the ball dropped on him and he was caught at short third-man.

After Raina’s departure,  Faf du Plessis took off from the top order carnage and targeted the familiar South African dbly-dobbly medium pacers and went after the bowling and then was eventually caught in the deep after a breezy knock of 30. There was more fireworks in store as Jadeja slammed the biggest sixes in the innings just seconds after coming on but Dolphins do deserve credit for the way they finished the innings in the last couple of overs.

Brief scores:

Chennai Super Kings 242 for 6 in 20 Overs (Brendon McCullum 49, Suresh Raina 90, Ravindra Jadeja 40; Robbie Frynlick 2 for 52) vs Dolphins.

Full Scorecard

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here