Badrinath leads Super Kings charge after slump with Dhoni

Chennai, May 10 (UNI) Under pressure still to move ahead of the powerful rival and prevent Kings XI Punjab from avenging their defeat when the teams met first at Mohali, Chennai Super Kings recovered through two sparkling knocks from S Badrinath and captain M S Dhoni to score 181 for four, when put into bat in the T20 DLF Indian Premier League(IPL) home match at the M A Chidambaram stadium here today.

While Badrinath scored 64 off 47 balls with three sixes and six fours, Dhoni, who joined him when the team was struggling at 64 for three, smashed an unbeaten 60 off 43 balls with three sixes and two fours. The two pulled the side out of dire straits, adding 91 runs for the fourh wicket off just 64 balls.

Once again a good home crowd watching and cheering the much touted Yuvraj vs Dhoni contest, as it were, the Chennai Kings went into the match with the same XI, which pulled off a dramatc upset against Delhi Daredevils on the latter's home turf two days ago.

But the Chennai Super Kings were off to a disastrous start, losing their openers, left handers S Vidyut(8, two fours, 4 balls) and Stephen flemming(1) to be 20-2 in 2.2 overs.

Both fell in tandem to Kings XI pacer S Sreeshanth, recovering from the now famous Harbhajan incident and sarcastically welcomed by a section of the crowd , holding up a banner reading ''welcome to Chennai.''.

In an action filled first over bowling two wides and Vidyut slashing him past cover for two fours, Sreeshanth had him caught brilliantly by Mahela Jayawardane at slip. After the second over by Irfan Pathan, Sreeesanth then had Flemming caught by K Goyel in the third over.

The Super Kings were under duress as they scored only 21 runs in the first four overs. But at the end of the fifth over, local lad Badrinath relived the pressure, hitting two fours off Sreeshant while Suresh Raina greeted the new bowler V R V Singh at the northern end, smashing him through the covers to the fence. The Super Kings pushed their score to 44 for 2 and Badrinath regaled the home crowd pulling V R V Singh over midwicket for the first six of the mtch and posting the team's 50 in 5.3 overs.

However, off the fifth ball of the seventh over the Super Kings were in the dumps again, losing Suresh Raina, who fell to a simple catch by Shaun Marsh at short third man. Raina, who put on 44 runs in a rescue act for the third wicket with Badrinath, made 26 off 17 balls with four fours. With Badrinath regaling his home crowd and skipper M S Dhoni also trying to fall into his rhythm, the Chennai Super Kings were 85 for 3 at the end of 10 overs.

In the 11th over, Dhoni smashed Piyush Chawla for two sixes in succession and off the fifth ball posted the 100 of the Super Kings innings off a single.

As Dhoni and Badrinath continued their charge, Dhoni posted the 50 run stand for the fourth wicket of 33 balls in the 13th over, in which he went on rampage against Irfan Pathan at the pavillon end, gathering 15 runs, including two masssive sixes. Badrinath registered his maiden T20 50 in the 14th over to thunderous applause from his home fans. Badrinath smashed two fours in he 15 over to move on to 68 and the Chennai team to 144-3 and on the way to a fighting target to the rival.

The Super Kings were scoring at the rate of 9.42 runs per over and turned the heat on Kings XI, watched by their owners Bollywood actress Preity Zinta and Nusli Wadia. However, the smile was back on their faces, as Badrinath fell top edging a simple catch to Yuvraj off V R V Singh in third ball of the 18th over. But Dhoni went on to register his 50 with four sixes off 37 balls in the 18th over. The Super Kings then pushed their score to 181, losing four wickets, as the stipulated 20 overs ended.


Story first published: Saturday, May 10, 2008, 23:02 [IST]
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