Subramaniam Badrinath struck an unbeaten 52 to salvage some pride before a disciplined effort by the bowlers saw Chennai Super Kings (CSK) spank Central Districts by 57 runs in a Champions League Twenty20 match in Durban on Saturday.
Badrinath's counter-attacking 52 from 42 balls was mainly responsible for CSK reaching 151 for four after they were 48 for three at the halfway mark.
Badrinath got ample support from Srikkanth Anirudha (42) and the duo shared a partnership of 73 runs (49 balls) for the fourth wicket to take CSK's score past 150 on a spongy Kingsmead pitch, which saw odd balls kicking up to trouble the batsmen.
Later, CSK's bowlers complemented the good work done by their batsmen by skittling out Central Districts for 94 in 18.1 overs to start their campaign on a winning note.
Chasing 152 for a win, the New Zealand champion side initially looked like they would stand up for a challenge but after they lost their first wicket in the fourth over they were never in the chase.
Pacer Laxmipathy Balaji was the most successful CSK bowler with three for 20 from his four overs while Muttiah Muralitharan, Ravichandran Ashwin and Doug Bollinger claimed a wicket apiece.
Opener Peter Ingram was the first Central Districts batsman to go in the fourth over for six as he top-edged an Albie Morkel delivery to Suresh Raina at cover and the team score at 12 for one. He was earlier dropped while on 1 off the second ball of their innings by Ravichandran Ashwin.
George Worker fell to Balaji in the very next over for four. CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni introduced off-spinner Ashwin in the sixth over and got the result immediately in the form of Jamie How's wicket.
The captain of the Kiwi side, who was dropped by Raina when on five, misread a delivery which straightened up before cleaning up his off-stump. Central Districts were reeling at 35 for three at that stage.
Sri Lankan spin wizard Muralitharan then claimed two wickets in the space of three balls to leave Central Districts run chase in tatters as they were reduced to 37 for five in the eighth over.
Mathew Sinclair (10), who hit Ashwin for a six in his first delivery, followed his captain soon after as he fell to a superb catch by Matthew Hayden at slip off the bowling of Muralitharan.
Muralitharan, who recently retired from Test cricket, scalped his second wicket two balls later with Noema-Barnettas (0) edging a sharp turning delivery for Dhoni to take a fine catch behind the stumps.
Central Districts, who were 43 for five at the halfway mark, were dealt another blow with Dhoni effecting a smart stumping of Brendon Diamanti (4) after Ashwin had drawn the batsman out of the crease.
Number eight batsman Doug Bracewell provided some late resistance before he was out in the 18th over for a 28-ball 30 to Balaji.
Balaji then scalped the wicket of Michael Mason, before Bollinger ended Central Districts' innings by scalping Mitchell McClenaghan's wicket with Matthew Hayden taking a fine catch diving to his left.
Earlier, a superb exhibition of counter attacking batting from Badrinath and Anirudha helped CSK post a competitive 151 for four after they were reeling at five for two in the second over as Hayden (0) and Suresh Raina (4) were out early.
Badrinath's unbeaten 52 came from 42 balls with the help of four fours and two sixes while Anirudha hit five fours and as six in his 29-ball innings.
Both Hayden, who fell in the first ball he faced in the opening over, and Raina, who followed suit after four balls, were done in by deliveries which had extra bounce.
Hayden top-edged a Michael Mason delivery to deep square leg fielder Peter Ingram. Raina failed to negotiate a rising ball from 18-year-old pacer Adam Milne and it kissed the batsman's gloves before landing at the hands of second slip fielder Diamanti.
The early jolt meant that CSK had to dig deep and Badrinath and Murli Vijay (19) did just that. They ran the singles and two consistently to keep the scoreboard ticking under some fine bowling display by the New Zealand champion side.
Yet again, extra bounce on the pitch claimed Vijay as he tamely hung outside the off to a Bracewell delivery for Mathew Sinclair to take a high catch off the edge.
Vijay had shared 38 runs with Badrinath from 39 balls for the third wicket before departing.
It was hard grind for Badrinath and Anirudha for some time as they could hit just a four from the fifth to the 10th over. But once they got a hang of the pitch, the duo opened up with some superb strokeplay.
Badrinath smashed McClenaghan for a six and a four to take 14 runs from the 11th over and he repeated it with a six and a four off Bracewell in the 14th over.
Anirudha joined in with a six and four off Mason in the 15th over before he was out in the 17th over at CSK score of 113 for four.
Albie Morkel produced the late fireworks with a 15-ball unbeaten 26 which had a four and two sixes.
For Central Districts, Bracewell was the most successful bowler with two for 28 while Mason and Milne took a wicket apiece.