Subramaniam Badrinath slammed his second unbeaten half century of the tournament to power defending champions Chennai Super Kings to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Pune Warriors in an Indian Premier League match at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.
Badrinath, who scored a classy 71 not out for a losing cause against hosts Mumbai Indians on April 22, stroked his way to a fine 63 not out in 44 balls as CSK overhauled the Pune’s modest score of 141 for six with three balls to spare.
The victory was the fourth for the holders in seven ties, and their first away from home. The win took CSK’s tally to eight points and put them on the third spot on the table while the Warriors slid to their fourth straight defeat in six matches.
Two days ago CSK had beaten the Warriors by 25 runs by defending a small target of 142 on a slow pitch at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Chasing the modest target, CSK lost in-form Michael Hussey (19) in the fifth over, but 30-year-old Badrinath and his Tamil Nadu teammate Murali Vijay (31 in as many balls) stitched a crucial 61 runs in 7.1 overs for the second wicket to lay the foundation for the comfortable win.
After Vijay’s dismissal, Badrinath added 64 runs with Suresh Raina (34 not out in 25 balls with 2 sixes and one four), for the unfinished third wicket to push Chennai across the finish line at 144 for two in 19.3 overs.
Earlier, Pune skipper Yuvraj Singh returned to form with a fine unbeaten 62 to help Pune Warriors recover from a poor start and reach a respectable 141 for six.
The left-handed batsman, who made 0 against Mumbai Indians and a slow 34 in 43 balls against CSK two days ago, started slowly before opening out to slam four sixes and three fours in 43 balls as the Warriors recovered from 41 for four to make a more challenging score after opting to bat.
Yuvraj first found an able ally in Robin Uthappa (31 in 22 balls) with whom he shared 42 runs for th fifth wicket to steady the Pune innings and then put on 40 runs with Mitchell Marsh (11) to guide his team beyond the 120-mark.
Doug Bollinger was the chief wrecker for CSK with fine haul of three for 21 that included a maiden over in which he took two wickets.
Nuwan Kulasekara, who played his first tie replacing an injured Albie Morkel, Tim Southee and Ravichandran Ashwin picked up a wicket each as CSK once again throttled Pune’s batting line-up after restricting them to 117 for nine in the 25-run win at Chennai two days ago.
CSK began their run-chase on a very sedate note against some tight new ball bowling by Alphonso Thomas, who set the tone with a maiden to Hussey, and Jerome Taylor.
The first boundary hit, a square-cut by Hussey off Alfonso Thomas, came only in the third over and then there was another dry spell to increase the pressure on the visitors.
The pressure led to Hussey’s dismissal when he was brilliantly caught by Manish Pandey in the deep to a short ball from Murali Kartik in the left-arm spinner’s opening over with Chennai scorecard reading 19 for one in the fifth over.
Vijay struck his first boundary, a cover-drive off Mitchell Marsh, only in the sixth over.
Two more economical overs held CSK in check at 39 for one before Kartik gave away 16 runs, 15 of them to Badrinath – in the ninth over to ease up the pressure.
Badrinath danced down the track to cart him for a four and a six and then square cut the bowler for his third four in the over as Chennai accelerated to 55 for one in nine overs.
The two Tamil Nadu players brought up the 50-run stand in 38 balls after Badrinath, survived a confident caught behind shout off leggie Rahul Sharma on 29.
Vijay cleared Jesse Ryder over the mid-wicket fence for his first six but perished in the same over when he was holed out at covers off a wide ball.
Badrinath then stepped up the tempo and ran quick singles with Raina. The right-hander smacked Rahul Sharma inside out over extra cover and then hit two superb fours in a Ryder over to bring up CSK’s 100 in 84 balls.
Later, he completed his third half ton of the tournament in only 33 balls during which he struck two sixes and five fours.
Raina then carted Taylor nonchalantly for two sixes in the 18th over to make victory a certainty for CSK.
Earlier electing to bat, Pune started off in a flurry with Ryder hitting Nuwan Kulasekera for three successive fours in the third over.
But then came the anti-climax when the home team lost two wickets in successive balls and then a third a little later to totter at 28 for three.
Ryder fell to the first ball of the next over from left-arm pacer Bollinger, who then sent back Mohnish Mishra off the next delivery to be on a hat-trick.
Both Pune openers, who had crossed over when the left-handed Ryder was dismissed, fell mistiming the pull shot off Bollinger.
Ryder, who pulled, lofted and cover drove Kulasekara for successive fours in the previous over, was caught by a diving Anirudha Srikkanth at short mid-wicket and then Mishra gave away a tame catch to Shadab Jakati inside the ring.
Things became even more difficult for the Warriors, who had lost three matches on the trot coming into this game, when Mithun Manhas too departed cheaply, bowled by an incoming Kulasekara delivery.
At 28 for three things looked bleak for Pune, who had lost four wickets inside the first six overs in their last two matches against Mumbai Indians and CSK to plunge to defeats.
Skipper Yuvraj started on a positive note with a couple off the first ball and a boundary off the next to take Warriors to 37 for three at the end of the Powerplay.
Pune lost their fourth wicket in the eighth over when Pandey departed after making 10, mistiming a pull straight to R Ashwin at mid-on off Southee to leave the Warriors reeling at 41 for four.
CSK brought in Ashwin into the attack and new man in Uthappa reverse swept the off-spinner and then hoisted him over the mid wicket boundary for two sixes and a four in different overs.
He also attacked left-arm spinner Jakati and got nine runs off the bowler in one over. But in search of one too many Uthappa top-edged one to a diving Anirudha at the third man boundary off Ashwin.
Uthappa’s quick-fire knock came off just 22 balls and had two sixes and as many fours in it.
Uthappa’s stand of 42 with Yurvaj, who played second fiddle, raised the total past the 80-mark by the 13th over.
By the end of the 15th over, it had moved up to 91 before Yuvraj struck his first six of the innings, clobbering Ashwin over the mid-wicket.
When Bollinger, who bowled a fine first spell of 2-1-6-2, returned in the 17th over, Yuvraj greeted the pacer with a straight six over long-on.
Later, the flamboyant batsman carted Southee for his third six to bring up his 50 in style in the last over in 39 balls. He later hoisted the Kiwi for another six over mid-wicket to increase the tempo and remained unconquered after adding 18 runs with Jerome Taylor (1 not out).
The Warriors added 40 runs in the last five overs.