Complacency and poor strategy led to CSK’s downfall against Pune Warriors, who won by 24 runs. That Pune achieved this without their skipper Angelo Mathews and Yuvraj makes the win even more creditable. Though the target of 160 wasn’t unattainable, one they seemed like crossing when Subramaniam Badrinath and Ravindra Jadeja held fort, frequent wickets put paid to their aspiration of winning three matches in a row.
In hindsight, dropping the experienced Mike Hussey seemed a logic-defying decision. Their strategies backfired on the turf, too. They opened with left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who though inexpensive couldn’t bargain a wicket and thus pile pressure on them. Their openers flourished and by the time they were breached, Pune already had 96 runs on the board. Australian batsman Aaron Finch was the wrecker-in-chief, as he smashed 67 runs off only 45 balls, with ample support from Robin Uthappa, who chipped in with 26 runs from 33 balls. He efficiently played the second fiddle and consistently rotated the strike.
On the other hand, Finch was aggressive. He opened his account with a straight drive off Dirk Nannes, before he lofted him through long off. He was similarly harsh on Jadeja, whom he creamed for a brace of boundaries. Though Nannes came back to trouble him, Jadeja provided an easy run-scoring outlet.
The introduction of Ravichandran Ashwin, Chris Morris and Dwayne hardly made any difference as he continued with his merry ways, racing to his 50 in only 32 balls.
He wasn’t always unorthodox, best proved by his six off Ashwin which flew past long off, executed with the straightest of bats. His dismissal and their subsequent collapse brought Chennai back into the game, and it took Steven Smith’s 16-ball 39* to give their bowlers something to bowl at.
Pune bowlers, although inconsistent, had the ability to break partnerships and pick up wickets at regular intervals. CSK’s start was disastrous. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar trapped Anirudha Srikkanth in the second ball of the innings. Thereafter, Vijay and Suresh Raina did the rescue act. Vijay (24, 22 balls) was initially tentative and enjoyed a slice of luck when he was dropped by Suman off Dinda at two.
He later flicked Dinda for two eye-catching boundaries. Soon Raina departed attempting to cart Kumar. Vijay too left, reducing CSK to 40 for three. Again, S Badrinath proved his utility value by making a polished 34. He and Jadeja added 46 runs in 6.2 overs. But Badrinath, Jadeja and Bravo perished attempting big shots. For a while, Dhoni and Albie Morkel kept CSK hopes alive with some lusty blows. But Dhoni went for an ambitious drive off Dinda, but could only sky it to Smith at long off. With this, CSK hopes of a win too evaporated.