It was a night for the ‘MS’ combination of the Chennai Super Kings to shine bright against a self-destructing Pune Warriors on Tuesday.
While it was skipper MS Dhoni’s 16-ball knock of 45 not out that powered his team to 164, the side's domestic find of the season, pacer Mohit Sharma, crippled the Warriors top-order with figures of 3/18.
Pune's forgettable run extended with a 37-run loss as they further sank to the bottom of the points table.
The stage was set for Dhoni when he came to bat in the 16th over. And as has been his approach, he made the Pune bowling attack look pedestrian.
High on MSD
Dhoni turned the game on its head in five overs as Pune lost track after seizing control early in the innings.
Dhoni helped himself to a boundary and then bludgeoning a six off Luke Wright. His repertoire included smashes over the bowlers head, paddle sweeps off quicker deliveries as well.
Mohit Sharma took over from where his captain left, dismissing the dangerous Aaron Finch and T Suman with seaming deliveries.
He returned to induce a nick from Yuvraj Singh, which was lapped up by Dhoni. Effecting three run-outs, including Suresh Raina's diving direct hit to remove Robin Uthappa, CSK crushed the spirit of the hosts.
While Dhoni and Sharma hogged the limelight, it was the 75-run stand between Raina (63 not out) and S Badrinath (34) that set the tone after the visitors were reduced for 28/2.
The duo was relentless, rotating the strike and finding the odd boundary. Raina, dropped on 16 off a mistimed pull by Luke Wright at midwicket, stepped up the scoring, targeting Rahul Sharma and Kane Richardson. The partnership put the innings back on track.
Earlier, Richardson castled the in-form Michael Hussey with an angled delivery to draw first blood.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rahul Sharma cut the run flow to peg the Super Kings back, but not for long as the twice winners took charge, cementing their position as the league leaders.