Chennai: A timely cameo by all-rounder Dwanye Bravo powered the Chennai Super Kings to a four-wicket win here Wednesday, their first in the Nokia Champions League T20 tournament as Jean-Paul Duminy's spell of four for 20 went waste for the Nashua Cape Cobras.
In a thrilling finish, Bravo's pyrotechnics (46 not out off 25 balls) took the Super Kings past the target of 145 with just two balls to spare.
Batting first, the Cobras were restricted to 145 for seven with Bravo, Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel claiming two wickets apiece.
Thereafter, the Super Kings, losing wickets at regular intervals, were placed in a precarious situation before Bravo delivered the winning blows as the hosts reached 146 for seven in the final over.
The Super Kings, with this win, have two points, the same as the Cobras and New South Wales while Mumbai Indians head the table with four points from two victories.
At the outset of the chase, there was not a sign of a crisis as Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay moved on serenely with the Aussie star dominating the partnership of 45 by the fifth over.
However, Vijay perished to a brilliant catch by skipper Justin Kemp who pouched a hard but uppish hit off Vernon Philander and the Super Kings' troubles rolled in with his departure.
Super Kings lost wickets in a hurry with Hussey, Subramaniam Badrinath (2), Wriddhiman Saha (6) and Suresh Raina (20) falling prey to the crafty Duminy who, besides taking the four wickets, put the hosts under pressure with his tight spell.
At 77 for five, Dhoni and Bravo came together shouldering heavy responsibility of retrieving an increasingly difficult situation made worse for the Super Kings by some good line and length bowling by the Cobras.
Thus, the Super Kings needed 37 off the final four overs. Dhoni, on 10, chanced his arms against Dale Steyn and was lucky to survive as Duminy dropped a skier. However, Dhoni did not last long and played on in the next over, the 18th of the innings and the die was cast for the Super Kings.
With two overs left, the Super Kings needed 23. Bravo smashed Steyn's second delivery for a six, followed it up with a boundary through covers and an off-driven four as 17 runs leaked leaving the home team to get six off the final over bowled by Charl Langeveldt.
Two singles and a three tied the scores before Bravo struck the winning runs much to the relief of the Super Kings who thus remain in contention for one of the two semi-final spots from Group A.
The Cobras innings was up and down. A poor start followed by a steadying partnership of 57 runs for the fourth wicket between Jean-Paul Duminy (29) and Owais Shah (45) before a stunning collapse in the final over marked their progress.
The Super Kings did well to bounce back after spending some anxious moments during the middle overs when Duminy and Shah were going great guns.
However, seamer Albie Morkel, who had conceded 21 runs in his first two overs, was brought back on and he immediately struck twice to begin the Cobras slide.
Morkel removed both Duminy and Shah in the 17th over as the Super Kings came surging back into the game, conceding just 21 runs in the last four overs to put themselves back in the hunt.
At the start of the innings, Ravichandran Ashwin struck in the very second over and his first, when he trapped opener Richard Levi plumb in front. Doug Bollinger then struck a vital blow when he got rid of Herschelle Gibbs who was threatening to cut loose before Bravo knocked back Dane Vilas as Cobras slid to 67 for three in the ninth over.
Duminy and Shah then repaired the innings with a fine partnership that raised visions of a 160-plus total at the minimum. However, Duminy, dropped in the previous over by Shadab Jakati, was caught by the same player who covered a lot of ground to pouch the ball coming from behind and over his shoulders.
Duminy's exit triggered a collapse as Shah, Justin Ontong and Robin Peterson were out in quick succession as Bravo and Bollinger got into the act to restrict Cobras for 145.