Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and in-form Subramanium Badrinath hit contrasting half centuries to help Chennai Super Kings post a commanding 176 for four against Delhi Daredevils in an IPL match on Thursday.
The duo added 96 runs for the fourth wicket in 9.2 overs to lay the foundation for a score that looks more than defendable with no Virender Sehwag in the opposition ranks.
Dhoni (63, 31 balls, 5x4, 4x6) sent the Daredevils bowlers on a leatherhunt with a 28-ball half century. He finished with a flourish hitting Irfan Pathan for consecutive sixes off his final two deliveries.
On the otherhand, Badrinath (55, 43 balls, 6x4, 1x6) who is almost a certainty to board the flight to Caribbean did his reputation no harm as he played with lot of precision rotating the strike and punishing the loose deliveries.
The final two overs yielded 37 runs while CSK scored 109 runs off the last 10 overs having scored 67 from the first 10.
For Daredevils who erred by selecting five pacers on a slow track, Ajit Agarkar turned out to be the most expensive bowler leaking 49 runs from four overs while Pathan gave away 40 from his four.
Dhoni started off with a pulled boundary off Ajit Agarkar and then launched into Andrew McDonald for straight six and then helped himself with a boundary. Both Dhoni and Badrinath ran the singles and twos well as they waited for the loose balls.
When Agarkar came back for his second spell, he played an audacious pull-shot and followed it up with a deft scoop past the short fine leg.
The Indian captain moved into the 40's when patted statemate Varun Aaron's full-toss straight past the bowler.
The best stroke however remained a lofted shot off Agarkar over extra cover that brought up his second six.
With an able ally in Badrinath who was wise enough to rotate the strike, Dhoni ensured that his side put up another commendable score on a slow Chepauk track.
Put into bat, CSK suffered an early setback when Irfan removed dangerman Michael Hussey (5) in the very first over when a delivery came in a shade wrap the batsman on pads as he remained rooted to his ground.
Suresh Raina (14) started off with a four and a six off McDonald but perished trying to hook a short-pitched delivery from Jharkhand pacer Varun Aaron. Raina, whose weakness against rising delivery is well known took his eyes off the ball and the balance was not there as Irfan took an easy catch at deep fine leg.
Meanwhile Murali Vijay (35, 33 balls, 2x4, 2x6) played some nice shots including couple of huge sixes off Agarkar —one that flew into the deep mid-wicket stands while the other was over long-on.