CSK make a statement of intent

CSK make a statement of intent

No batsman is more consistent or successful than Suresh Raina across the Indian Premier League and Champions League T20.

He reminded us of that once again with a blazing 90 that fashioned Chennai Super Kings’ first win in this edition of the CLT20, a 54-run romp over the Dolphins at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Monday. Once Raina and the other frontline batsmen found their range, Super Kings garnered a near insurmountable 242 for six in 20 overs after being asked to bat first.

Dolphins were bundled out for 188 as Super Kings bagged two points to stay in the mix for a berth in the semifinals.

There, of course, were some other cameos in the Chennai innings. Brendon McCullum didn’t miss a chance to relish the atmosphere at the Chinnaswamy, one of his most favoured venues, making a 29-ball 49. He shared a 91-run alliance with Raina for the second wicket off just 51 balls that gave Chennai early momentum.

Faf Du Plessis made a 19-ball 30, and Ravindra Jadeja provided late impetus with an unbeaten 14-ball 40. However, the finest of them was Raina’s 43-ball knock, marked for its sustained ferocity and sweet timing.
The left-hander gave the first hint of his intentions and touch with a six off Robbie Frylinck. Raina gave the charge to the medium pacer, who tried to evade the batsman with a wide delivery. But the Uttar Pradesh man still had enough time to send the ball over covers for a six.

It was just the beginning as Raina went berserk in the subsequent overs as Dolphins searched in vain for cover. Despite his success over the years in this format, a hundred had eluded Raina in the Champions League. But on this night he seemed destined to notch up his maiden three-figure knock.

However, a top edge off Frylinck ended in the hands of Cameron Delport at point and Raina walked back a tad disappointed. But by then he had already done enough to take Super Kings to a position of immense strength.

The South African side had a gargantuan chase in front of them that could have pushed any side into a deep abyss of dejection. But they hardly gave any indication of the burden. Instead, the visitors used it as chance to express their aggressive abilities on a good pitch that stayed firm.

Skipper Morne van Wyk and Delport, their openers, combined to eek 20 runs off Ashish Nehra’s first over, and soon they reached fifty in just 2.3 overs, though they lost Wyk to R Ashwin.

However, the dismissal of Delport, whose first six scoring shots were either boundaries or sixers, crippled their chase. Mohit Sharma, who was taken apart by Delport initially, produced a cleverly disguised back of the hand slower delivery that deceived of the left-hander to clip the bails.

Even after that, the Dolphins tried earnestly to challenge the Super Kings but they simply didn’t have the experience to counter a wily bunch of Chennai bowlers, particularly Dwayne Bravo.

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