Chennai: Chennai Super Kings' incredible run at home continued as the defending champions defeated Kochi Tuskers Kerala by 11 runs in their penultimate encounter of the Indian Premier League at the Chepauk on Wednesday.
Bengal glovesman Wriddhiman Saha's gutsy unbeaten 46 helped CSK to a competitive 152 for five on a slow Chepauk track.
The score was good enough for the bowlers who restricted Kochi to 141 for five despite Brad Hodge's impressive effort (51 off 42 balls, 3x4, 3x6) to notch up their ninth win in the tourney to move to the top of the table with 18 points.
The IPL debutants Tuskers finished their campaign with 12 points from 14 outings.
The CSK juggernaut at home keeps on rolling as it was their seventh victory. Ravichandran Ashwin was again the best bowler with miserly figures of one for 16 from four overs.
It was Ashwin who kept the dangerous Brendon McCullum (33, 37 balls, 3x4) under wraps.
McCullum was key to Kochi making a match of it and the Black Caps glovesman being kept quiet was half the job done.
McCullum was finally out when he tried to give Shadab Jakati the charge but played all over it to get bowled. Tuskers' chance went out of the window after that although Hodge tried his best which was too little too late.
Earlier, Wriddhiman cashed in on the missed stumping from Parthiv Patel to guide Chennai Super Kings to a competitive 152 for five against Kochi Tuskers Kerala on a slow Chepauk track.
On a day when most of the CSK batsmen frittered away good starts, young Wriddhiman (46 not out, 33 balls, 1x4, 3x6) answered the critics, who questioned his selection for the tour of West Indies, with a responsible knock.
Along with Albie Morkel (13 not out), he added 36 runs in 3.4 overs to take the score past 150.
For Murali Vijay (16 off 11 balls, 3x4), this tournament has been about hitting some good shots, promising a lot but delivering very little in the end.
In the third over from RP Singh, Vijay first hit a tennis bat like jab through mid-off, followed it with a deft flick past fine-leg and a lofted shot over mid-on. However RP came back with vengeance as he came round the wicket and fired in a yorker that uprooted Vijay's off-stump.
Suresh Raina (19 off 13 balls, 1x4, 2x6)hit Sreesanth over deep mid-wicket region for couple of sixes before an ugly hoick off a full-toss saw a simple catch being taken by RP.
However RP will be remembered for taking one of the finest catches of the tourney to dismiss the in-form S Badrinath (13 off 10 balls, 1x6) as he dived full length at the deep midw-wicket boundary to scoop the ball inches above the ground. Brad Hodge was the bowler.
Michael Hussey (32 off 37 balls, 2x4) was a bit scratchy from the start and even rival captain Parthiv Patel's blooper behind the stumps off Hodge's bowling (he was on 26 then) didn't help matters as he was holed out in the deep.
Wriddhiman, who got his first opportunity to bat in the tournament was lucky when he rushed down the track off Ravindra Jadeja's bowling while he was on 7. Parthiv who had a horrible day behind stumps bungled big time.
Wriddhiman, who is the back-up keeper for the ODIs and T20 for the Caribbean tour, took the opportunity as he spanked Jadeja for a six over deep mid-wicket. If that wasn't enough the Bengal glovesman then came down the track to loft Muttiah Muralitharan as the ball crashed into the sight-screen.
Skipper Dhoni who had couple fantastic outings with the willow, however, disappointed as he was caught behind trying to go for a cut shot. But Wriddhiman kept his cool as he hit RP over deep mid-wicket for his third six.
With Morkel for support, Wriddhiman ensured that his team reached a fighting score.
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