Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dhoni, Badri flay Daredevils

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the 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 in Chennai 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 leather hunt with a 28-ball half century. He finished with a flourish, hitting Irfan Pathan for consecutive sixes off the last two deliveries.

M S DhoniBadrinath (55, 43 balls, 6x4, 1x6), who is almost a certainty to board the flight to Caribbeans did his reputation no harm as he played with precision, rotating the strike and punishing the loose deliveries.

The last two overs yielded 37 runs as 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, Dhoni played an audacious pull-shot and followed it up with a deft scoop past the short fine leg.

India's captain moved into the forties when he 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 in to bat, CSK suffered an early setback when Irfan removed dangerman Michael Hussey (5) in the first over when a delivery trapped the batsman on the 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.

Vijay should however be blamed for not cashing in after being dropped twice off successive deliveries. On 22, he uppishly drove Aaron towards cover but skipper James Hopes failed to latch on to the offering.

The first ball of the very next over from left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem saw Vijay lobbing it straight to the bowler, who failed to grab the chance.

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