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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Super Kings beat Royals to become No. 1

Chennai Super Kings' Subramaniam Badrinath plays a shot as Rajasthan Royals wicketkeeper Naman Ojha and Graeme Smith look on during their IPL match in Kimberley.

S Badrinath smashed a brilliant unbeaten 59 and shared a crucial 89-run partnership with Matthew Hayden (48) to fashion Chennai Super Kings' impressive seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League match here on Saturday.

Chennai not only recorded their fifth in a row but also beat the defending champions for the second time in the second edition of the event to remain atop the points table.

Chasing 141 to win, last year's finalists, overhauled the target with 10 balls to spare.

Earlier, riding on a disciplined bowling attack Chennai had restricted Rajasthan to a modest 140 for seven.

The slow nature of the wicket at the De Beers Diamond Oval made the contest between the ball and the bat interesting and set up an exciting finish.

Hayden and Badrinath batted intelligently as stroke-making was quite difficult on the 22-yard-strip here.

Badrinath supported Hayden well after losing two early wickets as the duo knit together 89-runs for the third wicket.

The Tamil Nadu batsman hit Shane Harwood for one six and three fours in the 16th over to took the pressure off Hayden, who batted with determination from the start.

Hayden departed when he danced down to the wicket on one off rival skipper Shane Warne in the 17th over but was foxed by the big turn and stumper Naman Ojha uprooted his stumps.

Chennai needed 15 runs from 19 balls at that stage but Badrinath held his nerves and not only completed his third IPL fifty but also steered Chennai to victory. Badrinath hit nine fours and one six in his 41-ball knock while Hayden hit four fours and one six in his 44-ball essay.

Though Chennai did not lose too many wickets, the slow run-rate had made the job tough.

Like Royals, Chennai too struggled to make a quick start as the bowlers, specially spinners were getting purchase from the wicket.

Yusuf Pathan, who started the proceedings for Rajasthan, and Warne bowled some unplayable deliveries.

Siddharth Trivedi drew the first blood for the defending champions by trapping opener M Vijay (10) and then Amit Singh got rid of Suresh Raina (13).

Raina had hit Amit for a six and a four in that over and when the diminutive left-hander went for another big shot in the last ball, the miscued shot landed in the hands of Lee Carseldine at point.

Hayden, careful in his shot selection, did bulk of the scoring in the first 10 overs and took Chennai to 67 for two at the strategic break.

Earlier, Chennai bowlers used the slow track brilliantly as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni shuffled them intelligently throughout the Royals innings, ending at 140 for seven.

Graeme Smith (30), Swapnil Asnodkar (26) and Ravinder Jadeja (27) were the main contributors for the defending champions.

Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan (2/22) and Shadab Jakati (2/35) took two wickets apiece, capitalising on a brilliant start provided by their pacers. Naman Ojha, who anchored Royals' last two wins, looked in hurry and paid the price. He went for a drive and was castled by Albie Morkel in the very first over of the match.

The Chennai pacers bowled a tight line and gave away just 25 runs in the first five overs. Dhoni shuffled his bowlers quickly and by the eighth over, six different bowlers had come into the attack.

Smith and Asnodkar slowly took their side to fifty-run mark, mostly scoring through ones and twos.

Muralitharan broke the 53-run partnership when he trapped Asnodkar and sent back Smith when the South African captain dragged his feet out of the crease while attempting a sweep shot and Dhoni stumped him.

Ravinder Jadeja hit Shadab Jakati for consecutive fours and Yusuf Pathan finished off the over with a massive six to begin the firework.

However, both the batsmen departed while trying to press the accelerator button. First to go was Jadeja (27 off 19) who slashed one hard off Laxmipati Balaji but Suresh Raina took a brilliant low catch at point to send him back.

Pathan (7) started his walk back after finding Jacob Oram on the edge of the boundary while trying to hit Jakati out of the park. Captain Shane Warne hit an unbeaten 11-ball 21 late in the end to take his side to near 150-run mark.

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