Chennai: Defending Champions Chennai Super Kings put up an all-round performance in front of the home crowd as they outclassed Ganguly-led Pune Warriors India by 13 runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai.
Pune bowlers did well to restrict Chennai to 164 who at one stage were looking to cross the 200-run mark. Pune needed 21 runs from the final over, but with all set batsmen back to the pavilion, it was a very tough ask and they fell short by 13 runs.
Badrinath (57) and Faf du Plessis (58) shared 116-run opening stand which was also the first century partnership of the IPL 2012. Pune had to wait for 15.3 overs to get the first breakthrough. It wasn’t that the bowlers did not create opportunities, but it was the fielding that let them down. Apart from the openers, skipper Dhoni played a cameo of 28 runs from 12 balls to help his team cross 160.
Pune openers Uthappa and Ryder could not repeat their last match heroics and were both dismissed by Nuwan Kulasekara who picked up two wickets in as many overs. In spite of getting starts, Ganguly (24), Samuels (26) failed to play big knocks which was required to stay in the contest. Pune were reeling at 96/5 when Smith and Mathews tried to chase the target, but perished towards the end trying to accelerate the run flow. They needed 21 runs from the final over and Mathews’s departure off the first ball was the final nail in the coffin.
Pune looked sloppy in all departments of the game and had they capitalized the few opportunities that came their way, it would have been an altogether different story. Ganguly dropped two catches, Uthappa missed two stumping opportunities as Pune bowlers yielded 39 runs off the last three overs. Surprisingly, Kulasekara was adjudged the Man of the Match for his formidable opening spell.
With three wins from six matches, both Chennai and Pune are now on six points with the latter a step ahead of the defending Champs on the points table due to a better run rate.