When Mohit Sharma came on to bowl the third over,Pune Warriors were 21 for no loss. Chasing 165,Pune had made a brisk start with Aaron Finch brutally dismissing Albie Morkel in the previous over for a boundary and a six.
Mohit,a 24-year-old from Ballabhgarh,Haryana,had come to Chennai Super Kings attention after taking 37 wickets in seven games during the Ranji Trophy. His third ball,short and wide,was slapped to the point fence by Finch. As Mohit walked back to his mark,the crowd seemed to expect the assault to intensify.
But next ball,Mohit produced an absolute peach. Finch fended at the ball,which pitched in the corridor and zoomed past his bats edge. Mohit clasped his head. Next ball was a replica,but with just a touch of away movement. Finchs limp bat produced an edge and MS Dhoni made no mistake. Next ball,Tirumalasetti Suman was served a full and straight delivery at 137.3 kph. The batsman seemed to take a fraction too long to play the ball and that was it. The ball smacked into his front pad,and Simon Taufel raised his finger.
Mohits first over had produced five runs and two wickets. In the next over,bowled by Chris Morris,Robin Uthappa ran himself out as he hared off for a non-existent single after dropping the ball at the popping crease. Suresh Raina is not known to miss from point-blank range.
Pune were 37 for three,with Yuvraj Singh and Steve Smith at the wicket. Mohit came back,on a hat-trick. His first offering,a short ball,was dispatched to the midwicket fence by Yuvraj. But just as Pune seemed to be getting their hopes up,Yuvraj slashed at an innocuous length ball,with no semblance of feet movement. All it produced was an edge which the gleeful Dhoni accepted. Sharma finished with three for 21,breaking Punes back with his spell.
Luke Wright faced six balls,before a Smith straight drive,which careened off Albie Morkels feet,sent him back to the dug-out. Abhishek Nayar fell prey to another non-existent single and a few lusty blows by Kane Richardson at the end just delayed the inevitable. Pune eventually fell short by 38 runs,with Chennai making it look all too easy.
Pune crashed to their fifth straight loss,and their bowling effort was no more edifying than their batting. Chennai lost Michael Hussey early,as Richardson got one to straighten,go past his defensive prod and rattle the stumps. Wriddhiman Saha struck a boundary and six before Rahul Sharma got one to hurry onto the batsman and trap him leg before.
Subramaniam Badrinath and Suresh Raina stitched a 75-run partnership and pulled CSK to 103 off 15 overs,after they had managed just 29 in the first six.
Punes death bowling has been their achilles heel right through the tournament and the Dhoni-Raina combination pierced it with the proverbial arrow,plundering 62 runs from the last five overs. Ashok Dinda leaked 31 runs in his last two overs,and Bhuvneshwar Kumar was also guilty of dishing out too many freebies,which the batsmen were happy to take full toll of.
Rainas 63 off 50 balls was overshadowed by a whirlwind Dhoni effort as the skipper marauded his way to 45 off just 16 balls. Dhoni paddled two full tosses,a Dinda staple,for fours,and launched into the length deliveries with gusto. Dhoni smashed three big sixes and the 61-run partnership with Raina,which came off just 27 deliveries,ensured that Chennai made their way to a commanding total.