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Pune run out of steam as Dhoni’s men clinch crucial win at home

CHENNAI: This was straight out of the Team Chennai template. They have done this many times before and repeated it on Thursday.

MS Dhoni’s men had a workable total of 164 on the board and it was up to their bowling and fielding unit to rise to the occasion. They fielded like demons, took every catch that was on offer and bowled a tight line and length at the death to help their team notch up a 13-run win.

With 45 to get off the last four overs and Steve Smith and Angelo Matthews looking to cut loose, the task was cut out for Dhoni and his men. But the skipper, hobbling around with a pulled hamstring, made the right changes, took his time between deliveries, increased the pressure and struck just when it mattered.

Smith, attempting a heave in the 19th over, skied it to long-on and Faf Du Plessis, who again had a wonderful game, held his nerve and completed the catch. Matthews departed on the first ball of the 20th over and it was all over for Team Pune.

Sourav Ganguly’s boys, though, made a match of it after losing three quick wickets early on with the skipper, Marlon Samuels and Smith all making useful contributions. But Dhoni’s nerves of steel at the crunch stumped them.

Earlier, while batting, Dhoni played a blinder getting 28 off 12 balls which helped Chennai go past 160. His helicopter shot off Ashish Nehra suggested that he was coming into his own and the 18 that he and Jadeja managed in the last over was crucial.

Before that, Team Chennai pulled a real trick out of the hat when they promoted S Badrinath to open with Faf du Plessis. With M Vijay woefully out of form, it was just the right move and the Tamil Nadu middle-order batsman made the best use of his promotion. He opted for a wait-and-watch policy on a track that seemed to have a dual bounce. However, once the openers settled down, it wasn’t too difficult to find the big shots to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Both Badri and Du Plessis are fantastic runners between the wickets and that helped. They looked to make the singles into twos putting pressure on the Pune fielders.

Du Plessis (58 off 48 balls) got three lives and that didn’t help Pune’s cause. While Murali Karthik dropped him in slips early on, makeshift keeper Robin Uthappa made a complete mess of a couple of stumping opportunities at crucial junctures.

Skipper Ganguly, though, didn’t lose the plot even as the openers looked to push on the pedal. He kept rotating his bowlers well and left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra (2-23) did a commendable job. He varied his length and worked up a decent pace, making it difficult for the Chennai stars.

Nehra was rewarded with the wickets of Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo, both extremely dangerous at the death overs. However, Dhoni was still there and his cameo at the end made the difference.

 

Short URL: http://www.cckerala.com/?p=8730

Posted by on Apr 19 2012. Filed under Cricket News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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