Chennai: Defending champions Chennai Super rode on a blistering unbeaten 83 from Michael Hussey as they thumped Royal Challengers Bangalore by 21 runs to bounce back after their last match defeat in the Indian Premier League.
Playing his first match of the tournament, Hussey smashed 11 fours and a six in his 56-ball knock to anchor Chennai to an imposing 183 for five after electing to bat at the M A Chaidambaram Stadium.
Chasing 184 for five for a win, Bangalore struggled throughout after losing three key wickets inside the first five overs before A B de Villiers made a last-ditch effort to snatch a win with a strokeful 64.
But the asking rate, which rose to nearly 15 by the 15th over, was too much to overcome and Bangalore could manage 162 for seven in 20 overs to slump to their third successive loss in the tournament.
De Villiers played some stunning shots, including a reverse-sweep six off Tim Southee, to make a match out of it before he was out in the penultimate over. His 64 off 44 balls contained five fours and two sixes.
Albie Morkel and Suraj Randiv took two wickets each for Bangalore while Tim Southee, Ravichandran Ashwin and Sadab Jakati scalped a wicket each.
Bangalore were at the backfoot as soon as they started the chase with two batsmen returning to the hut for just 17 runs on the board by the second over itself.
Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan`s poor run of form in the tournament continued as he fell for a first-ball duck, caught by Anirudha Srikkanth at mid-wicket region off Morkel in the second ball of the chase.
One-down Asad Pathan looked like he was not concerned by the early jolt and hit two fours and six off Morkel as if taking revenge for dismissing Dilshan.
Pathan`s brief aggression turned out to be flash in the pan as he was sent packing for 14 (off five balls) in the second over by Southee who bowled the batsman who played across while attempting a scoop shot.
Bangalore`s misery was compounded as the other opener Mayank Agarwal (7) departed in the fifth over with Ashwin striking in his first over.
Agarwal inexplicably went for a big shot without reaching to the pitch of the ball and ended up skying one to Morkel. Bangalore were 31 for three in the fifth over.
Besides de Villiers, Virat Kohli was the other Bangalore batsman who took the Chennai bowlers to task before he was out while trying to accelerate the pace with the asking rate rising steeply.
Kohli, who made 71 in a losing cause in Bangalore`s last match, gave special treatment to Jakati with two fours and a six in quick succession but it was the same bowler who had the last laugh.
Jakati enticed Kohli to come charging down the track and the batsman top-edged the ball to Anirudha at long-on. Kohli`s 35 came from 28 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six.
At 73 for four in the 11th over, it looked a tough task for Bangalore to overhaul the target but A B de Villiers, who had been ordinary in the tournament so far, kept RCB in for a chance with some lusty hits.
De Villiers also picked out Jakati as he hit the bowler for a six and a four to take 13 runs from the 14th over but the South African did not get much support from the other end.
Saurbh Tiwary departed in the 15th over, dismissed by Suraj Randiv leaving Bangalore to score 111 runs from 9.1 overs with five wickets intact.
The late heroics by de Villiers gave a ray of hope to Bangalore but the hiccups in the initial overs proved costly in the end.
Earlier, Hussey cashed in on two dropped chances to score unbeaten 83 to help Chennai score 183 for five.
The Australian was well supported by opener Murali Vijay (31 off 21) and Suresh Raina (29 off 16) while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (22) provided late burst with some lusty hittings as the home side entertained the packed crowd.
For Bangalore, paceman Johan van der Wath (2/49) and off-spinner Ryan Ninan (2/31) were the most successful bowlers though both were quite expensive. Zaheer Khan also grabbed a wicket giving away 33 runs from his quota of four overs.
Openers Vijay and Hussey struggled to get off the blocks against the pace and spin combination of Zaheer Khan and Bangalore skipper Daniel Vettori, with the first four overs yielding just 18 runs.
Vettori introduced South African medium pacer van der Wath into the attack in the fifth over and he had almost accounted for Hussey`s wicket on his second ball but Mohammad Kaif dropped a sitter at the mid-off region.
Vijay took van der Wath for special treatment in the same over as he hit him for two consecutive fours and a six to take 15 runs from the over.
Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan was not spared either as this time Hussey, playing in place of New Zealander Scott Styris, hit him for two consecutive fours in the sixth over.
Chennai reached the 50-run mark in 6.2 overs but immediately Vijay was dismissed by Ninan.
Next man in Suresh Raina (29) and Hussey put on a 45-run stand for the second wicket to take the Chennai total close to 100-run mark.
Raina`s arrival provided the much-needed impetus to Chennai innings as the left-hander clobbered Ninan for two consecutive fours and a six in the 11th over.
But it was Ninan who had the last laugh as Raina, looking for another big shot, ended up giving a simple catch to Mayank Agarwal at extra cover. He hit three fours and a six in his 16-ball stay.
From there on, it was left to Hussey and Dhoni to guide Chennai to an imposing total.