MS Dhoni, it seems, can’t put a foot wrong with this bunch of fighters. On Wednesday, the Chennai Super Kings found an unlikely hero in Wriddhiman Saha while the likes of R Ashwin and Shadab Jakati too chipped in as the team squeezed out a 11-run win over Kochi Tuskers to take a major step towards the top-two berth.
While Saha played an excellent hand with the bat even as the others struggled to get going on the sluggish pitch, Jakati struck at the right moment to keep CSK ahead. Brendon MCullum was settling in well when left-arm spinner Jakati beat him in the air and prized out his wicket.
Brad Hodge was there at the other end, but he just couldn’t get going. M Vijay had tried to be a little too cocky and dropped a sitter to allow Hodge a life, but the Aussie couldn’t capitalise on it. He took 17 off the 19th over bowled by Dwayne Bravo, but by then it was too late.
The CSK fielders, barring that Vijay blemish, again came up with a brilliant show.
The icing on the cake, though, was Suresh Raina’s catch running backwards to dismiss a dangerous-looking Ravindra Jadeja that all but sealed Kochi’s fate. The Tuskers, though, made some inexplicable decisions like holding back Owais Shah till the 19th over, but that doesn’t take the sheen off CSK’s performance.
The pint-sized Saha answered his critics with a well-compiled 46 not out off 33 balls. It was surprise move when he came in to bat at No. 6 ahead of Dhoni at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday. However, Saha did all those things that Dhoni would have wanted — he looked for the innovative shots, ran his singles hard and converted ones into twos.
The straight six that Saha hit off Muttiah Muralitharan gave the Bengal boy a lot of confidence and he carried on well from there.