MUMBAI: MS Dhoni marked his 200th game for Chennai Super Kings on Friday with a crushing six wicket Indian Premier League win over Punjab Kings.
Moeen Ali hit 46 off 31 balls as Chennai reached 107 for four to secure their first win of the season with 26 balls to spare.
Victory was crucial in relieving pressure on the 39-year-old Dhoni, whose side failed to reach the IPL play offs for the first time last year.
They lost their first game of the season against Delhi Capitals.
“It makes me feel very old’’, joked Dhoni of his landmark game. “It has been a very long journey, I started in 2008.”
Chennai have won three titles under the former India captain but have seen the IPL dominated by arch-rivals Mumbai Indians in recent years and are seeking to rebuild.
This victory put them among six teams in the eight team Twenty20 league with one victory from two games and Dhoni knows they will need more consistency to add to their titles.
Punjab made only 106 for eight after Deepak Chahar tore through their upper order, taking four for 13. Punjab were struggling at 26 for five at one stage after being put in to bat by Dhoni in Mumbai.
Chahar bowled Mayank Agarwal with the fourth ball of the innings and quickly added Chris Gayle, caught by a diving Ravindra Jadeja, Nicholas Pooran, caught by Shardul Thakur, and Deepak Hooda, snared by Faf du Plessis.
Punjab then relied on Shahrukh Khan who hit two sixes and four fours in his 36 ball 47 before Jadeja caught him off Sam Curran.
Chennai’s batsmen strolled to victory, the only blip coming when India fast bowler Mohammed Shami claimed Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayadu with successive balls in the 15th over.
By that time Moeen, batting at three, had already put Chennai well on course with seven fours and a six before Khan caught him going for another boundary off Murugan Ashwin.
“We were obviously disappointed with the result after the last game, but It was a great end for us tonight’’, said Moeen.
“I’m just really enjoying the environment and my role in the team. I really enjoy batting in the top three, it’s a chance to make an impact’’, added the England all-rounder. — AFP
Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 107/4 (Moeen Ali 46, Faf du Plessis 36 not out; Mohammad Shami 2/21) beat Punjab Kings 106/8 (Shahrukh Khan 47, Jhye Richardson 15; Deepak Chahar 4/13) by 6 wickets.
Chahar masterclass lights up Chennai win
MUMBAI: Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 200th appearance for the franchise merited celebration and Deepak Chahar duly provided it with a bowling masterclass against Punjab Kings. Chahar claimed 4-13 to mow down Punjab’s top order.
In what is considered a batting-friendly format, Chahar sent down 18 dot balls to strangle Punjab, who could never recover after being reduced to 26-5 in the seventh over. “Over the years, he has matured into a death bowler too but he’s somebody who gets more purchase than other bowlers’’, Dhoni said, explaining his decision to bowl out Chahar’s four overs in one go. “If you’re looking to attack, why not finish his first four overs?”
Chahar drew first blood with an excellent outswinger that angled past Punjab opener Mayank Agarwal’s tentative bat to hit the top of the off stump.
“It was a dream ball for any fast bowler, pitching on the middle stump and hitting top of the off’’, Chahar said after collecting player-of-the-match award. “It was a coach’s delight, every coach tells you to hit the top of the off stump.”
The 28-year-old thanked Dhoni for keeping faith in his ability and said he relished his new ball duty which allowed him to set the tone for the match.
Chahar was also happy how he strangled Punjab’s batting with three overs’ worth of dot balls, including the wickets.
“Wickets in T20s are very rare, so my plan is to bowl dot balls in powerplays and create pressure’’, he said. — Reuters