Chennai Super Kings player Dwayne Bravo after victory over Rajasthan during the T20 match at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. (Sunil Saxena/HT)
Australia batsmen may have had a wretched time during their humiliating tour of India earlier this year, but on Monday it was all about the awesome Aussies as two batsmen, one retired and one current, stole the show with stunning knocks for their respective sides.
After Rajasthan Royals' Shane Watson hit the first ton of this T20 season, Chennai Super Kings' Mike Hussey took centrestage and hit a blistering 88 of 51 balls to power a stiff 186-run chase before he was run out when CSK were 154-2 after 16 overs. After a mini stutter, Dwayne Bravo helped knock off the 11 runs required off the last over with a ball to spare to seal a thrilling five-wicket win.
From the outset, Hussey looked eager to outshine his compatriot and started his innings with a flurry of boundaries within the first six overs. Normally playing the anchor, and letting Chennai's collection of big-hitters do the damage, Hussey was in no mood to take a back seat.
Even the early dismissal of M Vijay did little to deter him. With Suresh Raina (51 off 35 balls) joining him at one-drop, the duo put on a shot-making clinic hitting the ball to all parts of the ground.
If there's one thing the homework gate scandal - that marred Australia's disastrous tour of India - proved it's that Watson probably didn't enjoy school much. He probably also didn't address his teachers as sir. Well, you'd certainly think so if you witnessed the utter disdain with which he dismissed another 'sir' en route to his ton.
Watson hammered all the Chennai Super Kings bowlers, but no one received stricter punishment than Ravindra Jadeja. In his first over, Watson made his intentions clear with a four and a massive six that sailed over deep square leg and into the third tier of the stands.
He hit Jadeja for a further two sixes and even managed to get the normally tidy spinner to lose his line, bowling wides after being hit for each of those sixes. That proved to be the end for Jadeja, who was taken off for good after conceding 45 runs in three overs.
At the other end, R Ashwin was turning in a superb performance and ended with economical figures of 2-20 off his four overs.
With little support, Watson single-handedly kept the run-rate ticking. He finally found an able ally in Stuart Binny, who hit a crisp 22-ball 39.
By the time Watson finally fell, after mis-hitting a Bravo delivery to Hussey, he'd done enough to guide his side to an impressive total. His 61-ball 101 included 6 boundaries and as many hits over the fence, and was the first T20 ton of his career.
His innings, and a good finishing job by Binny guided the Royals to a competitive 185-4.