Dhoni smashes Chennai to win

2013-04-25 20:30
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (AP)

Johannesburg - Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed an undefeated 67 from 37 deliveries to give his team an unlikely five-wicket victory with two balls to spare in their IPL clash against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Thursday, reports the supersport.com website.

A remarkable undefeated innings of 63 from 45 deliveries by Shikhar Dhawan had earlier steered the Sunrisers to a score of 159 for six, and a maiden from Karan Sharma (4-1-8-0) in the 16th over left Chennai needing 46 from 24 deliveries.

However, Dhoni was imperious, and a shell-shocked Hyderabad team were forced to watch flying leather as they suffered an unexpected reverse to leave them stuck in third place on 10 points.

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VIDEO: Chennai Super Kings v Sunrisers Hyderabad, highlights

Victory for the Super Kings sees them join the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the summit of the table on 12 points, albeit with an inferior net run-rate.

Having earlier won the toss and elected to bat, the Hyderabad side endured early strife as opener Quinton de Kock (4), Hanuma Vihari (2) and captain Cameron White (2) all fell within the first five overs to leave them 37 for three.

Amit Mishra's (15) dismissal in the 10th over was a setback after a useful partnership with Dhawan, but things were to get worse as the opener, on 44, was struck down in the mid-section by a vicious Dwayne Bravo (4-0-37-2) delivery midway through the 14th over. Unable to continue, Dhawan's decision to retire hurt appeared to effectively reduce the visitors to 83 for five.

Next in was Darren Sammy (19), and, on his IPL debut, the West Indian captain opened his shoulders by blasting two fours and a six to take the score well beyond the century mark. But his dismissal in the 18th over to fellow West Indian Bravo prompted the return of Dhawan, and the left hander immediately struck two boundaries to bring up a remarkable half century.

He wasn't done yet though, and he and partner Ashish Reddy (36 not out) added a further four fours and two sixes between them to take their side to a competitive-looking total.

The home crowd were then treated to an exhibition in strokeplay as Michael Hussey (45) led the charge in reply. He and fellow opener Murali Vijay (18) took the score to 58 without loss by the end of the powerplay, before the latter was stumped in the eighth over off Mishra (4-0-26-3).

The introduction of spin began to slow the over rate, and Hussey became Mishra's second victim in bizarre fashion two overs later as he was caught by keeper De Kock off the back of his bat to leave his side at 76 for two.

New-man Dhoni was then given a life as Mishra dropped a sitter off Dale Steyn (4-0-45-1) on the fine-leg boundary in the 11th over, and it began to look costly as the captain started to find the middle of the bat.

Mishra redeemed himself in the 14th over, as Dhoni's partner Suresh Raina (16) skied one to long on with the score on 99, and when Bravo (7), who struggled through 16 deliveries, lost his wicket, the hosts were left needing 30 from 16 deliveries.

All hopes were pinned on Dhoni, and he carted Steyn for a four and a big six in the penultimate over to bring up his fifty, and the crowd to the edge of their seats. But Steyn removed Ravindra Jadeja (1) at the end of it, and with 15 needed off the final over, the odds appeared to be stacked against him.

However, the skipper took full advantage of a poor final over from Reddy (0.4-0-15-0), and a six and two fours were enough to see his side home for a fourth successive victory.  


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