IPL: Pune breach fortress Chennai (Roundup)

Chennai, April 15 (IANS) Pune Warriors pulled off a surprise victory over Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League here Monday. The 24-run win for the visitors was their first in Chennai’s backyard.

Australian duo of Aaron Finch (67) and Steven Smith (39) took Pune to 159 for five and their bowlers did a brilliant job in the restricting the star-studded Chennai line-up to 135 for eight. Medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck twice while giving away just 12 runs in four overs and leggie Rahul Sharma produced figures of one for 24.

The win was Pune’s second in five matches while Chennai have now lost two out their four games.

The hosts were expected to chase down the target. But Pune bowlers made life difficult for the hosts, limiting them to 86 for four by the 13th over.

That was when Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked in, with his side needing 74 off 42 balls. Achieving any total is possible in Dhoni’s presence but his job was made tougher by the fall of two key batsman , Ravindra Jadeja (27) and Dwayne Bravo (1), making it 104 for six.

Dhoni was joined by the dangerous Albie Morkel at the crease and one could not rule out the home team making 56 off the last four overs.

The big moment for Pune came when Dhoni was caught at long on off Dinda. Morkel then failed to get his side over the line.

Earlier, openers Finch and Robin Uthappa (26) forged an entertaining 96-run stand to set the tone for a big score. It was Pune’s best opening wicket partnership in the IPL.

With Finch doing most of the hitting, Uthappa was left to be a spectator at the other end.

The burly Australian exhibited a sheer show of strength, collecting 10 fours and a couple of sixes in the process. The electrifying knock was his second 50 plus score in three matches.

Finch’s departure in the 13th over slowed things down and led to three quick dismissals, leaving Pune at 128 for four in 17.1 overs.

It seemed Chennai would be able to contain the opposition to less than 150 but Smith produced a gutsy knock to take his team beyond that number.

Smith made an impact in his first match of the tournament and enthralled the crowd with his innovative strokes. He ended with three maximums and as many fours with six off a reverse-flick being the best out of the lot.

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