Bangalore: Suresh Raina on Monday blazed his way to a 43-ball 90 and powered Chennai Super Kings to a comfortable 54-run win over Dolphins, keeping the Indian outfit's semifinal prospects alive in the Oppo Champions League Twenty20 here.
The Super Kings notched up an imposing 242 for six and then saw off Dolphins' early onslaught to bowl them out for 188 in 20 overs. Chasing a stiff target, Dolphins were cruising at 56 for two by the end of third over and had crossed hundred by the end of ninth. But the South African side could not sustain the tempo and lost its way after the initial promise.
Earlier, Raina was on the ball from the word go and his onslaught during which he hit four boundaries and eight power-packed sixes, left the opposition blowers bruised and battered after Dolphins opted to field at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Mohit Sharma was CSK's most successful bowler with impressive figures of four for 41. Needing a win to keep their semifinal prospects alive, two-time IPL champions CSK also got valuable support from Brendon McCullum, who hammered 49 off 29 balls with the help of five fours and three sixes.
Ravindra Jadeja blazed his way to an unbeaten 40-run knock off a mere 14 balls, including 24 off the innings' 17th over bowled by Kehsav Maharaj, as CSK finished with a huge total on board following the defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in their opening game. Raina and McCullum were involved in a 91-run stand for the second wicket, the runs coming in barely 7.3 overs. CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni though was bowled for a first-ball duck.
In their chase, Cameron Delport and skipper Morne van Wyk plundered runs in the first couple of overs and looked in cruise mode. Delport smashed Ashish Nehra for 20 runs in the innings' opening over, hitting the seamer for two fours and a six. Wyk then hit two fours and a six to score 16 runs. Delport was in the thick of things again, picking up 20 runs off Sharma's first over and the innings' third, to take Dolphins past the fifty-run mark.
But, after hitting a six and three fours, Delport was foxed by Sharma's slower ball. That was a big blow for the visiting side as the well-built batsman was looking set for a big one. While Wyk was out for 17, Cody Chetty top-scored with 37 off 28 balls.
While batting, what badly affected Dolphins was the lack of a single big partnership. Whereas the Super Kings had two - 91 and 65 for the second and third wickets respectively, Dolphins had none with their best being 34 for the first and third wicket. After Sharma accounted for Delport and Keshav Maharaj, Dwayne Bravo bowled very economically and picked up two wickets as well.
Earlier in the evening, Raina was unfortunate to miss out on what would have been a well-deserved century by 10 just runs. After McCullum's innings was brought to an end by Khaya Zondo in the ninth over, the left-handed Raina added 65 runs for the third wicket with Faf du Plessis to consolidate the Super Kings' position. They needed just six overs to score those runs before Raina was dismissed while going for a heave off the bowling of Robbie Frylinck. Raina's first big hit was off Frylinck who was smashed over cover boundary for a six.
That was just the beginning as Raina went on a leatherhunt against the hapless Dolphins bowlers, ensuring that each over produced runs for CSK. Towards the end, Jadeja played a hurricane knock that included three sixes and as many fours. Jadeja clobbered Maharaj for 24 runs in the 17th over, hitting the bowler for three massive sixes and a boundary to boost CSK's net run rate.
Before that, Craig Alexander was taken for 16 runs with du Plessis doing the bulk of scoring this time around. However, in his quest to go for one too many, du Plessis was out caught. Earlier in the innings, McCullum hit Alexander for 16 runs with the help of two boundaries and a six to set the ball rolling for the Super Kings. From thereon, the Indian side only got better.