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Rediff.com  » Sports » Hayden, Murali lead Chennai's charge

Hayden, Murali lead Chennai's charge

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: April 20, 2009 23:51 IST
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Matthew Hayden showed he has lost none of his batting prowess as he scored a blazing half-century that was instrumental in Chennai Super Kings posting a thumping 92-run victory over Bangalore Royal Challengers in the Indian Premier League in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

The retired Australian batsman displayed vintage touch as he smashed 65 from just 35 deliveries, which included nine boundaries and two sixes, to lead Chennai to an imposing 179 for five in their 20 overs.

When Bangalore replied, they found Muttiah Muralitharan too hot to handle and crashed to 87 all out in 15.2 overs.

Earlier, Bangalore made a surprise decision, opting for Jacques Kallis in place of Jesse Ryder, who had made a vital contribution with the ball in the last match.

Chennai, shocked by Mumbai in their opening encounter, elected to bat and made three changes, bringing in Muttiah Muralitharan, Laxmipathy Balaji and Albie Morkel in place of Jacob Oram, Thilan Thushara and R Ashwin.

Chennai openers Hayden and Parthiv looked to attack right from the word go. Hayden got the first boundary when he smashed Pravin Kumar through the off-side as the bowler pitched it a bit wide in the first over of the match.

Parthiv got his first boundary, flicking Kumar through midwicket in the third over. In the same over, Hayden got the first six for Chennai when he smashed a full toss with absolute disdain, high over square leg. Parthiv got his first six when he dispatched a short delivery from Steyn to the square leg boundary.

Kallis was introduced in the fifth over and greeted by Hayden with three consecutive boundaries off his first three deliveries. The left-hander lofted the final delivery of the over straight down the ground for a six as Kallis ended up conceding 20 runs in his first over as Chennai raced to 56 from five overs.

Hayden was unstoppable. He launched into Vinay Kumar, smashing him for two consecutive boundaries to take Chennai to 68 for no loss from their first six overs. The Aussie left-hander raced to 45 from 17 deliveries, inclusive of six boundaries and two sixes.

At the other end, Parthiv, who had a few mis-hits, looked good on 21 from 19 deliveries, with a boundary and a six.

It was proving to be a test for captain Pietersen as Hayden and Patel looked set for a big score. The Bangalore captain responded by bringing in part-timer Virat Kohli into the attack. It was surprising that veteran Anil Kumble was not called into the attack at a stage when Bangalore needed a couple of wickets to pull back things.

Expectedly, Hayden helped himself to two more boundaries in Kohli's over to bring up his half-century off just 22 deliveries, as Chennai put up 77 in seven overs.

Kumble was introduced in the eighth over and nearly grabbed Hayden's wicket. The leggie beat the former Australia opener with a slow, flighted delivery as he attempted a sweep but the umpire turned down the appeal.

In Kumble's next over, Hayden went across his stumps and swept the leggie for a boundary that took Chennai to 106 for no loss at the halfway stage. Hayden reached 65 from 35 deliveries, (9 boundaries, two sixes) while Parthiv was on 30 from 25 deliveries (2 boundaries, 1 six).

The strategy break after the tenth over worked wonders for Bangalore as they struck with two wickets in two deliveries right after the break.

First, captain Pietersen struck with the ball when he bowled Patel with a full delivery as the batsman attempted a slog sweep. The left-hander made 30 from 26 deliveries, inclusive of two boundaries and a six, and added 106 runs for the opening wicket with Hayden in just 10.1 overs. (106-2, 10.1 overs)

The very next delivery Hayden was run-out at the striker's end after a misunderstanding with new batsman Suresh Raina. The Aussie responded to a quick call from Raina but was caught short of his ground by a brilliant piece of fielding by Dravid at point. However, he had given his team the perfect platform, smashing 65 from 35 deliveries, inclusive of nine boundaries and two sixes. (106-2, 10.2)

Just ten runs in three overs and Bangalore pulled back Chennai to 116 for two in 13 overs.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni broke the shackles by smashing a full toss from Ross Taylor over square leg for a six.

Raina (12) attempted to launch Kumble through the leg-side but could only lob it to Steyn at midwicket, but the bowler dropped the easy offering in the 15th over. The youngster however got it out of the middle of the bat against Kumar in the next over when he creamed a short delivery over point region for a six.

Finally, Kumar had something to cheer about three deliveries later when he had Dhoni caught at long-off for 16 from 14 deliveries, with a six in it. (144-3, 16)

That brought the two most expensive players in the IPL -- Englishmen Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff -- face to face. Flintoff immediately struck a powerful boundary through midwicket off a short delivery from Pietersen.

Another set of team-mates were playing each other as Uttar Pradesh batsman Raina took on his state team-mate Kumar. Raina hit a cracking boundary through the leg-side but Kumar had his revenge a few deliveries later when he got him with a slower delivery. Raina, who made 28 from 29 deliveries, with a boundary and six, hit a full delivery straight to Virat Kohli at long-on.

In the final over, Flintoff easily flicked Steyn for a six through the fine leg region and then Albie Morkel opened the face of the bat to register a boundary through third man off his South African team-mate. But once again it was the bowler, who had the last laugh, as Steyn bowled Morkel with a fast full delivery for 5 from three deliveries.

Flintoff was unbeaten on 22 from 13 deliveries, (2 boundaries and a six) as Chennai posted an imposing 179 for five in their 20 overs.

This pitch looks good for batting and the bowlers are not getting as much assistance as in the earlier matches.

Muralitharan turns it

Bangalore sent in a pinch-hitter in Pravin Kumar to take advantage of the fielding restrictions in the first six overs and also keeping in mind the daunting target of 180. However, the experiment fell flat on its face as Kumar was bowled by a slow full delivery from Manpreet Gony in the first over. (0-1, 0.3 overs)

Kallis started off positively, smashing Balaji for two consecutive boundaries in the next over and followed it up with another couple of boundaries off Gony.

Robin Uthappa got into the act with a delightful boundary through the covers off Morkel in the fourth over and then took on Gony as he walked down the wicket and smashed him through midwicket for a boundary. Despite the few quick boundaries, the Bangalore side was still behind the asking run rate of nine, amassing 40 for 1 after five overs, with a run-rate of eight.

Kallis fell leg before wicket in the sixth over when he walked down the wicket but was struck in front by Morkel. He made 24 from 19 deliveries, including five boundaries, but was bogged down by the Chennai bowlers in the last few overs. (40-2, 5.2)

Despite a few boundaries, Bangalore failed to fully utilise their first six overs, scoring just 46 for two, well below their asking rate. Also surprising was that Pietersen did not come into bat at fall of Kallis's wicket which left many wondering why the side's premier batsman and captain did not take up the challenge.

Ross Taylor did not stay for long; he offered a high catch straight back to the bowler while attempting a cross-batted slog off Flintoff and was dismissed for 1 from 4 deliveries. (47-3, 6.5)

Flintoff conceded just two runs in his first over as Bangalore slipped to 48 for 3 in seven overs. But worse was to come for Bangalore as Muralitharan rocked the middle order with a double blow in his very first over of the IPL second season.

Bowling from round the wicket, the Sri Lankan ace got the big wicket of Pietersen, trapping him leg before. Pietersen face just one ball before he tried to play across the line to Muralitharan, but failed to connect and walked back looking very disappointed. (49-4, 7.3)

Two deliveries later, Uthappa got a taste of Muralitharan's wizardry when the veteran offie beat him with his trademark doosra that pitched on leg stump and spun the other way to have him stumped for 20 from 19 deliveries. (50-5, 7.5)

Four wickets fell for just 11 runs in the space of three overs as Bangalore crumbled from 39 for two in the sixth over to 50 for five in the eighth.

Flintoff and Muralitharan strangled the batsmen as five overs passed without a boundary, Bangalore reaching 56 for five in 10 overs. It remained to be seen whether the strategy break that rescued them in the first innings could once again save them. But at this stage it seemed nearly impossible.

Joginder Sharma also struck in his first over when he claimed the wicket of Virat Kohli for 11 (13 deliveries). The Delhi youngster smashed Sharma for a six through the leg-side but was caught at point attempting another big shot. (66-6, 10.5)

Debutant Rajesh Bishnoi lasted just one delivery as he holed out Muralitharan straight to Balaji at long-on. (66-7, 11.1)

Muralitharan was now threatening to wrap up the innings pretty quickly -- his figures reading three for 11 in three overs, while Dravid was running out of partners at the other end.

Bangalore's misery continued as Vinay Kumar flicked a full toss from Balaji straight to Hayden at midwicket and was dismissed for 5. (74-8, 12.4)

Nothing was going right for Bangalore as Dale Steyn fell for a duck, run-out by Raina after being sent back by Dravid attempting an impossible run. (78-9, 13.3)

The innings finally ended when Dravid hit Balaji straight to Flintoff at square leg and was dismissed for 20. Bangalore were dismissed for 87 in 15.2 overs and lost the match by a huge margin of 92 runs.

Muralitharan, who was not included in the first game, finished with remarkable figures of three for 11 in his four overs, that also included a maiden.

Flintoff also had a good outing with the ball, taking one for 11 in three overs, while Balaji took two for 18.

After the setback in the first match, Chennai bounced back in style. It was Hayden's blazing knock that made the difference in the final analysis, as man of the match Muralitharan also admitted.

After this showing Chennai will surely regain its place among the favourites for the trophy.

Bangalore, meanwhile, were sent crashing back to earth following their convincing win over champions Rajasthan Royals in their first match.

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Harish Kotian

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