East London, South Africa: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit an unbeaten 58 while left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati took 4-22 on Monday to steer the Chennai Super Kings to a convincing 78-run win over the Deccan Chargers that takes them to the top of the Indian Premier League standings.
Dhoni hit five boundaries and a six, sharing a 54-run stand for the third wicket with Suresh Raina, who faced 19 balls for his 32 runs at Buffalo Park. Matthew Hayden, the IPL’s leading run-scorer, made a quick-fire 43 off just 26 balls while his fellow opener Murali Vijay chipped in with 31 as Chennai reached 178-3.
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Chennai’s bowlers then removed Deccan’s top three batsmen for ducks inside three overs.
Albie Morkel, who claimed a remarkable 2-24 including a wicket-maiden, got the initial breakthrough with the very first ball of the innings, trapping Adam Gilchrist in front with a full length delivery. In the second over 21-year-old medium-pacer Sudeep Tyagi bowled Herschelle Gibbs with another full length delivery which deflected off his pads before hitting the stumps.
Deccan were then reeling on 1-3 when VVS Laxman attempted to flick the ball past midwicket only to be caught by Jakati.
A fourth wicket stand of 72 between Dwayne Smith (49 off 23 balls), who was dropped while on 6 off successive Morkel deliveries, and Rohit Sharma, (21 off 20 balls), briefly brought Deccan back in the game.
But the introduction of the spinners halted the Deccan recovery as Jakati removed both Smith and Sharma in the 9th over. First he had Sharma caught in the deep by Subramaniam Badrinath, then four balls later he trapped Smith lbw as he tried to sweep.
Jakati then had Venugopal Rao caught by Muttiah Muralithan in the deep for 2 and bowled Australian all-rounder Ryan Harris playing across the line to reduce Deccan to 96-7.
Sri Lankan offspinner Muralitharan then helped cleaned-up the tail, taking two wickets in successive balls, Tirumalsetti Sulman (17) and Rudra Singh (2) both caught on the boundary by Murali Vijay.
Raina finished off Deccan’s innings by claiming the wicket of Pragyan Ojha.
“The last overs in this tournament offer a lot of wickets to the spinners because the batsmen will be going for shots,” Muralitharan said of the spinners’ success. “So if you get your line and length right wickets will come.”
Deccan captain Gilchrist admitted that his team was outplayed, but said it is still in with a chance of making the semifinals.
“We did the hard work early in the tournament and got ourselves in a good position,” Gilchrist said. “We are not focusing on that (the semifinals) yet...we are not sitting down to do calculations as yet. What we are focusing on is our next games.”
Chennai tops the IPL standings with nine points from eight games. Four teams _ Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils, Deccan, and Bangalore _ all have eight points. However, Punjab and Deccan have played only seven games, and Delhi only six.