Even after three games on the surface, the Chepauk wicket remained a mystery for the Chennai Super Kings batsmen. Not to speak of the men from the visiting team, Pune Warriors.
After MS Dhoni's men laboured to 142 for six in 20 overs, the Pune team's batsmen looked clueless at the MA Chidambaram Stadium to lose the Indian Premier League match by 25 runs on Monday night.
In a poor exhibition for Twenty20 cricket, the Pune-Chennai contest was reduced to which team was less uncomfortable in the conditions. Pune naturally looked delighted when they restricted the home team to a run rate of 7.10 but their smiles vanished once their batsmen took the crease.
Their top four were back in the hut before the sixth over with the score on 40. With five wickets in hand and 50 needed off 30 balls, Pune could only manage five runs in the 16th over and four runs each in the 17th and 18th overs. That too, with Yuvraj at the crease. From 93 for five, at the 15-over mark, Pune finished at 117 for nine.
Even after spending enough time at the crease, the batsmen never looked to be in. Pune skipper Yuvraj is in the touch of his life, having won the Player of the Tournament at the World Cup, but against Chennai the way he struggled to get the ball past the square it appeared as if he was in the midst of a wretched run.
Timing eluded Mike Hussey, the topscorer of the match, even after reaching his half century. He scored 61 off 48 balls but the innings was far from fluent.
Dhoni, who walked in at No 4 with the intent of stepping up the run rate, failed to break the shackles and three big hits was all he could manage. During their third wicket partnership of 52 runs in 6.4 overs, Dhoni and Hussey were made to work hard for each run after joining forces in the 11th over. The spinners were on at that time and the duo were restricted to just three runs of the 11th over, five off the 12th and four off the 14th.
With just 99 runs on the board after 15 overs, the local supporters hoped the ploy was to keep wickets and give the charge in the final five. The final charge never came.