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Ryder, Smith lift Pune Warriors India past Chennai Super Kings
By IPL desk
Mumbai 15 April 2012
The Dada v Dhoni duel ended with the Pune Warriors India winning their second consecutive match at their home ground by seven wickets. Powered by Jesse Ryder’s unbeaten 73 and a 44-run cameo by Steven Smith PWI are back on top of the IPL 2012 table.
In only the second match to be played at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium here, defending champions Chennai Super Kings opted to bat first and set the home team a target of 156 runs.
Murali Vijay’s poor run in IPL 2012 continued as the opener departed after contributing just eight runs to the 43-run first wicket stand. The batsman flicked Ashok Dinda to Angelo Mathews at deep square-leg. In contrast to Vijay, his opening partner, Francois du Plessis picked up from where he had left off in the previous innings. The South African all-rounder, who hit two sixes and four boundaries, batted with ease until Rahul Sharma had him stumped. Although he missed out on a half-century, du Plessis claimed the Orange Cap thanks to his 33-ball 43, which took his overall tally to 171 runs.
In his next over, the Rahul Sharma claimed Suresh Raina. A superb catch by Steven Smith at long-on saw the back of the dangerous southpaw, who departed for 20. Ravindra Jadeja, who then joined CSK skipper MS Dhoni at the crease, wasted no time in taking the bowlers on. The all-rounder first hit the ball over Murali Kartik’s head and then sent the left-arm spinner into the stands over long-on. However, the left-arm spinner, who replaced Manish Pandey in the side, conceded only 18 runs in three overs. He was supported by Marlon Samuels and Ashok Dinda, who kept the flow of runs in check with some good spells.
Jadeja though continued to plunder runs off the PWI attack, while Dhoni played a relatively sedate innings. On the last ball of the penultimate over, the CSK captain was caught at long-off by Murali Kartik off Dinda as he took the aerial route. The defending champions attempted to accelerate towards the end of the innings. They lost Jadeja (44) while attempting to clear the ropes for the third time. It was once again Smith who took a good catch at long-on off Ashish Nehra to end Jadeja’s 26-ball stay at the crease. Albie Morkel and Dwayne Bravo remained unbeaten on three and five respectively as CSK finished with 155 for five in 20 overs.
Chasing a competitive total, PWI opener Robin Uthappa was the first to walk back to the dressing room with just 31 runs on the board. After adding another 34 runs to the total, skipper Sourav Ganguly too was run out while attempting a second run. A while later Yo Mahesh playing his first match of IPL 2012 found Samuels’ off-stump, which brought out all-rounder Smith to the crease. The Australian lofted Raina over mid-wicket for a big six in the following over.
Meanwhile, Jesse Ryder continued to score off the CSK bowling attack ensuring the flow of runs. The PWI opener anchored the innings, in a match that was evenly poised with five overs to go. It was then up to the experienced Kiwi campaigner and the Australian youngster to take the Warriors through. The batsmen then took on Bravo. While Ryder sent him over the ropes in the 16th over, Smith smashed a six and a four in the West Indian’s next over ensuring that the asking rate was kept in check.
With 22 required off 12 balls and the most economical of CSK bowlers R Ashwin having finished his quota of overs, Dhoni brought in Nuwan Kulasekara. The Sri Lankan pacer, who was making his first appearance of IPL 2012, was hit for consecutive boundaries by Smith in an over that cost CSK 12 runs. With PWI requiring 10 off the last over and two set batsman at the crease, the CSK captain handed the ball to Yo Mahesh, who was sent down the fine leg for a four followed by a six by Smith to seal the match for PWI with four balls to spare.
True to its nature, the Eden Gardens track produced a low-scoring thriller, at the end of which the Kolkata Knight Riders came out victorious by five wickets against the Rajasthan Royals. Spinners made merry, accounting for seven out of the ten wickets that fell in the match. This was KKR’s second consecutive win and RR’s second straight loss in DLF IPL 2012.
Chasing 132 on a turning track was always going to be a tricky task, even for a power-packed batting line-up like that of KKR. In Gautam Gambhir (11) and Jacques Kallis (31) the hosts had the best opening pair for such a situation. The duo got their team off to a positive start without taking undue risks.
However, a brilliant direct hit by RR skipper Rahul Dravid sent Gambhir packing in the fourth over. Manvinder Bisla (29) joined Kallis in weathering the storm with a 48-run stand. It broke when Johan Botha got his fellow South African out lbw during one of his many attempts to play the sweep shot.
Bisla held the fort with a run-a-ball 29 before Ashok Menaria frustrated him for runs and prompted him to go for a big heave over cover, which fell in the waiting hands of Ajinkya Rahane. Manoj Tiwary was the next to fall after an attacking 24 off 18 balls. He was done in by a wrong ‘un from Brad Hogg.
The Knight Riders required 24 runs off the final three overs with two new men at the crease. The good thing for them was they were Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan – two men capable of turning the game on its head.
Shakib took the pressure off the hosts by sweeping Siddharth Trivedi for a boundary off the first ball. He went one better in the penultimate over by striking a flat six before holing out in the covers. Known for his powerful hitting, Yusuf showed a glimpse of his delicate touch by guiding the last ball of the 19th over to the third-man fence for four. The scores were levelled and KKR needed one run to win in the last over; Ryan ten Doeschate sealed it with a six.
The RR innings was opened by perhaps, the most classical opening pair in the IPL – Dravid and Rahane – who once again defied the logic of Twenty20 being a hit and giggle format. They danced down the track and swept against spinner Sunil Narine, while L Balaji and Kallis were cut and driven. With some delightful cricketing shots, the two put up 45 runs in six overs.
With the RR openers going strong, KKR captain Gambhir gave the ball to Shakib Al Hasan in the seventh over. What followed was mini-carnage and the visitors lost three men – Rahane, Ashok Menaria and Dravid – for four runs. Shakib removed both RR openers by exploiting the turn and bounce in the wicket.
The Royals’ go-to guy with the bat so far, Owais Shah (31), once again stood tall. He steadied the RR ship with a sedate 58-run partnership with Shreevats Goswami (24). Shakib struck for the third time to remove Goswami and finished with fine figures of 3 for 17 in his four overs.
Shortly after that, Narine got Shah stumped with a wrong ‘un. It was in the 19th over, when the West Indian off-spinner conceded three runs for a wicket. However, Johan Botha and Brad Hodge creamed Lakshmipathy Balaji for 15 runs in the final over to take RR to a competitive 131.