T Suman's brisk half-century and three wickets from Ryan Harris saw Deccan Chargers outclass Chennai Super Kings by six wickets in the Indian Premier League match, in Nagpur, on Saturday.
Suman top-scored with 55 from 44 balls, and Andrew Symonds hit a quick 27, as Deccan scored 139 for four in 19.1 overs after being a set a modest 139 for victory.
R Ashwin took two wickets to give Chennai Super Kings some hope after a poor batting display. The off-spinner claimed the wickets of Adam Gilchrist (7) and Monish Mishra (21) to finish with splendid figures of two for 13 in four overs.
Pacer Harris claimed three for 18 to restrict Chennai Super Kings to 138 for eight in their 20 overs.
Except for Suresh Raina, who stroked 52 from 42 balls, the rest of the Chennai batsmen struggled to get to grips with the conditions. The visitors lost wickets in a hurry towards the end, as seven fell for 24 runs in the space of 28 deliveries.
Deccan are now in contention for a place in the semi-finals with 10 points from 11 matches, the same as Chennai.
Chennai Super Kings:
Matthew Hayden got off the mark in his trademark fashion, hitting Ryan Harris and RP Singh for a boundary each over mid-off and mid-on respectively in their opening overs.
Part-timer Rohit Sharma was introduced as early as the fourth over but he went for 13 runs in his first over, with Murali Vijay and Hayden getting a boundary each to take Chennai to 34 for no loss after four overs after they had elected to bat.
Vijay went after pacer Harmeet Singh in his first over as he lofted him straight down the ground for a six. But it was Harmeet who gave Deccan their first wicket when he had Hayden caught behind for 19, wicketkeeper Gilchrist completing a sharp catch.
Suresh Raina was lucky to survive a lofted chip off Dwayne Smith over midwicket as Monish Mishra misjudged the catch near the rope and gave away a boundary. The left-hander made it more painful for Smith as he hit him for two more boundaries in that over to take the total to 55 for one in six overs.
Deccan struck against the run of play with the wicket of Vijay, who was run out for 23 attempting an impossible second run, in the eighth over.
That wicket saw Chennai lose the momentum as just 19 runs came from four overs, with just one boundary. as and total read 74 for two after ten overs.
Raina got a lifeline when he was dropped on 27 by Gilchrist as he edged an outgoing delivery from Symonds in the 11th over.
Pragyan Ojha then pegged Chennai back further when he bowled Mahendra Singh Dhoni with a quicker delivery for seven.
The runs continued to dry before Raina broke the shackles by hitting Ojha straight down the ground for his first six, and followed that up with another maximum off Symonds in the next over.
But Symonds put Deccan in charge when he claimed the wicket of compatriot Michael Hussey (7), who hit one straight to the fielder at deep midwicket. Chennai were left reeling at 110 for four in 15 overs.
S Badrinath also struggled to get the scoreboard moving before he was out off a leading edge for six, giving RP Singh his first wicket of the innings.
Chennai's hopes of getting a big total all but ended when Raina holed out Harris to long-off after scoring 52 from 42 balls, inclusive of four boundaries and two sixes.
Harris ended the innings in perfect fashion with two wickets in the final over to restrict Chennai to a paltry 138 for eight in their 20 overs.
R Ashwin tried a big shot but only top edged a return catch to the bowler, Harris, and was out for five; two deliveries later Thilan Thushara hit it straight to the mid-on fielder and was out for eight.
It turned out to be a disappointing batting performance by the Chennai batsmen; except Raina, all of them failed to come to grips with the conditions. Even towards the end, they failed to find the boundaries, as just 28 runs came from the last five overs, with the loss of four wickets.
Harris finished the most successful bowler, claiming three for 18 in four overs, while Harmeet Singh also bowled a probing spell of one for 23 in four overs.
Chennai's bowlers started off well, with just 16 runs coming off the first three overs. The only boundary during that period came when Gilchrist edged R Ashwin and the ball flew wide of Hayden at first slip, in the third over.
Monish Mishra broke the shackles when he hit Doug Bollinger for two boundaries and a six in his second over to take the total to 32 for no loss after four overs.
Ashwin provided Chennai the breakthrough when he had Gilchrist caught behind for seven in the fourth over. In the same over, Mishra, who hit 21 from 18 balls, charged down the wicket and was stumped by Dhoni as Deccan were reduced to 35 for two after five overs.
Ashwin bowled out his overs at the start to finish with wonderful figures of two for 13 in four overs and give his team some hope with those early wickets.
Part-timer Raina then took the wicket of Rohit Sharma, who was brilliantly caught by Sudeep Tyagi diving to his right at short third man for eight.
With every passing over, Chennai were slowly inching their way back into the contest as Deccan reached 61 for three after 11 overs, needing 78 from the last nine.
T Suman tried to accelerate the scoring as he chipped down the wicket to Raina and hit him for a six over wide mid-on. Symonds repeated the dose in the next over when he hit Shadab Jakati for another maximum to take the total to 90 for three after 14 overs.
Finally, after a few overs from the spinners, Dhoni brought in a medium pacer in Sudeep Tyagi. The pacer suffered in his first over as Suman hit him for a six and a boundary to bring up his half-century from 37 balls, inclusive of four boundaries and two sixes.
Deccan hit 22 runs from the last two overs to score 102 for three in 15 overs and bring the equation down to 37 needed from 30 deliveries.
Jakati came in for a new spell and struck with the big wicket of Suman, who lofted it straight to Raina at wide long-off after scoring 55 from 44 balls.
However, Symonds ensured Deccan didn't lose the momentum after the wicket, as he danced down the track and hit Jakati for his second six.
In the end, it turned out to be easy for Deccan as they scored the required 139, for the loss of four wickets, in 19.1 overs to win by six wickets.
Symonds hit a quick 27 from 22 balls and Dwayne Smith was unbeaten on 13 as Deccan kept alive their chances of making it to the semi-finals.
Chennai's spinners bowled well, Ashwin claiming two for 13. They must have certainly rued not having fielded Muttiah Muralitharan.