Chasing 156, Pune beat Chennai by seven wickets to seal the top spot in IPL 5.
Set up by a tidy effort in the field, Pune Warriors India got back to winnings ways with a tense seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune that took them to top of the IPL 5 table. Chasing 156 to win, the home team was indebted to Jesse Ryder's measured 73 off 56 balls and a spunky 22-ball 44 from Steven Smith which sealed victory in the final over. After the thrill of Thursday’s last-ball win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai's quixotic campaign continued with their third loss in five games.
There were no fifties in Chennai's innings and Pune kept a check on the boundaries in the last ten overs, conceding just six fours and two sixes once Faf du Plessis was dismissed for 43 first ball of the tenth over. In the chase, Ryder remained unperturbed by the failure of his several batting partners to remain unbeaten, but the win would have been impossible without Smith's audacious innings.
Following on from his belligerent innings in Chennai's astonishing win on Thursday, it was du Plessis who powered the start after MS Dhoni opted to bat. His first big hit resulted in a six over midwicket off Ashok Dinda, but the real aggression was trained at Ashish Nehra, whose first five deliveries included three fours and a six. du Plessis smacked the ball through the covers, over extra cover into the sightscreen with absolute disdain for Nehra’s left-arm pace, and after conceding 18 in six balls Nehra was banished to the outfield. After four overs du Plessis was 27 off 18, with Vijay having faced six balls for four runs.
Vijay's attempt to hit the ball in the air resulted in his dismissal first ball after the Powerplay, with Ashok Dinda accepting an easy catch at deep square leg. The first ball after the strategy break also brought a wicket, as du Plessis charged Rahul Sharma and was stumped for 43. By this time Suresh Raina had caressed a drive through the covers for four, but instead of settling down he kept swinging and found Smith at long-on to give Rahul his second wicket. It was his fifth consecutive score of 16 or above, without pressing on.
Ravindra Jadeja imposed himself with a four and a six off his second and third balls faced while Dhoni was fare more subdued role, picking up singles in a partnership of 61. From 114 for 3 after 15, Chennai managed just 41 in the final five overs. Dhoni fell on the final ball of the 19th over, for a 28-ball 26 that included just one four, and Jadeja (44 off 25) fell two balls later as the innings ended tamely.
Ryder ensured Pune's run rate stayed above the asking rate despite the early run-out of Robin Uthappa. He began by swinging Nuwan Kulasekara for three leg-side fours in a row and then biffed Dwayne Bravo through the off side to take the score to 56 for 1 after the Powerplay. Sourav Ganguly was also run out, and Pune played out four overs without a boundary.
Ryder's fifty needed 36 balls but Pune were again stalled by the wicket of Marlon Samuels, bowled by Yo Mahesh for a laborious 15-ball eight. Pune needed 50 from the last five overs, and Ryder reduced the equation to 39 from four with a six off Bravo. Kulasekara kept things in tight with a five-run 17th over, but Smith struck Bravo for six and four in successive balls to swing the advantage back Pune's way. Smith collected another two much-needed fours in the penultimate over, leaving Pune to chase ten off the final over. Victory came with Smith hitting Mahesh's first two balls for four and six, a full toss clipped with fine leg up in the circle and an amazing pick-up shot out to the deep where Jadeja tipped the ball over the ropes.