Dhoni’s Chennai provide star quality

The first two wins in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament belonged to South African teams but it was India’s Chennai Super Kings who showed star quality.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 12 Sep 2010, 9:41 AM

Last updated: Tue 28 Nov 2023, 11:10 AM

The Highveld Lions pulled off a surprise win against the Mumbai Indians in Friday’s opening game in Johannesburg and South African champions the Warriors cruised to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka’s Wayamba Elevens in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The spotlight then switched to Durban where a capacity crowd saw the Super Kings, led by Indian Test captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, show the style that took them to the Indian Premier League title this year.

In conditions that man-of-the-match Subramaniam Badrinath described as “totally different to India”, the Kings overcame a shaky start to trounce New Zealand’s Central Stags by 57 runs.

After morning rain in Durban, the Kingsmead pitch offered bounce and movement to the bowlers and international stars Matthew Hayden, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay fell early.

But Badrinath and the hard-hitting Anirudha Srikkanth — son of former India opening batsman Kris — rescued the Indian side with a fourth-wicket stand of 73.

Badrinath made an unbeaten 52 and Srikkanth an impressive 42 as Chennai finished with 151 for four.

Dhoni didn’t even get to bat, with coach Stephen Fleming explaining that the skipper was suffering from ‘flu.

But Dhoni took his customary place behind the stumps and unleashed a formidable bowling attack in which fast bowlers Doug Bollinger and Lakshmipathy Balaji created early havoc, which was capitalised on by spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ravichandran Ashwin.

The Stags crumbled to 94 all out and skipper Jamie How lamented a poor batting performance. He said the team’s inexperienced bowlers, including teenagers Adam Milne and Doug Bracewell, had “really stepped up”.

But he added: “It was disappointing we didn’t turn up with the bat tonight.”

Warriors were impressive on their home ground at St George’s Park, restricting Wayamba to 153 for nine.

Rusty Theron took two early wickets, including that of Sri Lankan star batsman Mahela Jayawardene, and bowled impressively in the “death” overs to take three for 23.

Veteran South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini took two for 34 and fellow long-serving national player Mark Boucher top-scored with 40 not out as the Warriors eased to victory with 10 balls to spare.

“It is great getting off to a winning start,” said Warriors captain Davy Jacobs. “Playing at home is a major motivation and we do not feel any pressure.

“We also play together all the time rather than coming together for tournaments and that helps.”

Losing skipper Jehan Mubarak said: “We can do much better than today. I do not regret batting first although we needed another 20 or 30 runs and did not score enough during last five overs.”

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