Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina recorded the third hundred of IPL 2013 © IANS

By Sarang Bhalerao

Chennai: May 2, 2013

Suresh Raina scored the third century of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) off 53 deliveries which helped Chennai Super Kings post 186 for four in 20 overs against Kings XI Punjab at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.

Raina’s century was a measured knock. He was always in control of the innings. Batting at naught, Raina got a full-toss from Punjab’s part time bowler; skipper David Hussey, who opened the bowling along with Praveen Kumar. Raina hit that for a boundary and got himself going. Punjab were rushing through the overs with Piyush Chawla and Hussey junior bowling in tandem.

The feature of Raina’s batting was his clean hitting, the straight hits over the bowlers head, the cover drives and the exquisite pull shots in front of square-leg; all hit with consummate ease. He hit seven boundaries and six sixes.

The Powerplay overs yielded 36 runs. In the 10th over, Raina got into his groove when he drove David Hussey through the covers for a four and then hit him through long-on for a six off the final ball off his spell. David finished with 4-0-31-0.

Michael Hussey opened his shoulders when he swiveled and pulled Manpreet Gony twice in the 11th over. In the next over, Michael pre-empted a shot off Chawla and gave him an early charge. Chawla fired a ball wide and that accounted for the Orange Cap holder Michael Hussey who was stumped by Gurkeerat Singh; Hussey made 29-ball 35.

Hussey and Raina added 55 off 44 balls for the second wicket after Wriddhiman Saha was dismissed for a run-a-ball 18 trying to flick Parvinder Awana over square-leg; he could not clear Shaun Marsh at deep square-leg. Saha looked ominous after he pulled Praveen Kumar for a six over square-leg and then creamed the Punjab opening bowler through point for a boundary.

MS Dhoni has been in supreme form in IPL 2013, and has captained Chennai Super Kings atop of the table. Kings XI Punjab captain David Hussey when asked about the plan to stop a possible Dhoni carnage he said that he would let his brother bat for the 20 overs. But Dhoni ran was run out in the 13th over when he gently played Rajagopal Sathish towards mid-wicket and attempted two runs. Sathish quickly covered the ground and fired a return to Gurkeerat to find Dhoni inches short of his ground. It was a rare failure for Dhoni who scored only two.

Albie Morkel and Raina added 74 off 38 deliveries for the fourth wicket. Morkel hit a 16-ball 23 and was dismissed in the 19th over when he mistimed a straight hit which was safely pouched by David Miller off Awana, who was the best bowler for Punjab by a long way. Awana’s conceded 29 off his four overs and picked up two wickets.

Earlier, Dhoni won the toss and decided to make the first use of the Chepauk track which looked flat.

Kings XI had batted first during the last season at Chepauk and had won the game. Punjab have to play some inspiring cricket to topple Super Kings who have won six matches on the trot. Kings XI brought Luke Pomersbach in place of Azhar Mahmood, and Manan Vohra made way R Sathish. Adam Gilchrist opted to sit out yet again.

Brief Scores:

Chennai Super Kings 186 for 4 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 100*; Parvinder Awana  2 for 29) vs Kings XI Punjab.

Full Scorecard

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)