Hussey stars in Chennai victory
Michael Hussey's coruscating century allowed the Chennai Super Kings to get their Indian Premier League campaign off to a winning start against the Kings Punjab XI in Chandigarh.
The Australian left-hander smashed an unbeaten 114 at better than two-a-ball to lead his side to a formidable total of 240-5. And although James Hopes and Kumar Sangakkara made half-centuries as the Kings Punjab XI made a spirited reply, they eventually fell 33 runs short on 207-4.
Hussey struck eight fours and nine sixes during a 54-ball knock that fully justified Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to bat first.
It was in partnership with Subramaniam Badrinath that Hussey rammed home his side's position, the sixth-wicket pair collected 73 runs off the final 4.3 overs of the innings.
None of the Kings Punjab XI bowling attack - which included Brett Lee and Shantha Sreesanth - escaped punishment. Only Lee went for less than 10-an-over, his four-over allocation cost 'just' 34 runs.
Lee did pick up the early wicket of Parthiv Patel (15) and, when Matthew Hayden and Dhoni fell within the space of five deliveries, there was a window of opportunity with the Super Kings reduced to 62-3 in the eighth over.
Medium pacer Irfan Pathan bowled Hayden for 26 and Dhoni (2) was adjudged lbw to James Hopes from his third ball.
But Hussey and Suresh Raina averted the prospect of a collapse by adding 64 in five overs. Raina's contribution to the fourth-wicket stand was a 13-ball cameo of 32 before he was caught by Pathan off the bowling of Wilkin Mota.
The runs continued to flow for Hussey - who brought up his century from exactly 50 balls - in the company of both Jacob Oram (13) and Badrinath (31no) during the closing overs.
In reply, Hopes flayed 71 from 33 balls to keep the hosts vaguely in touch with the required rate.
But the burly Queenslander's departure, caught in deep off Palani Amarnath in the 11th over, effectively spelled the end for his side.
Sangakkara, batting in his usual number three position, was the only other substantial contributor to the final total of 207-4, with 55 from 33 balls.