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Super Kings see off Punjab threat

Lakshmipathy Balaji claimed the first Indian Premier League hat-trick, as the Chennai Super Kings beat the Kings XI Punjab by 18 runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Chennai Super Kings excelled with superb all-round display to record a comprehensive win over Kings XI Punjab.

Earlier, Subramaniam Badrinath and MS Dhoni added 91 runs in 64 balls for the fourth wicket as Chennai Super Kings shrugged off a disastrous start to post 181 for four against Kings XI Punjab.

Kings XI skipper Yuvraj Singh won the toss and put Super Kings in to bat and the move nearly paid off. The hosts yet again failed to get a good start, losing Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan in the very first over. Vidyut hit Sreesanth for two boundaries in the first over, but edged the fourth delivery to second slip where Mahela Jayawardene came up with a brilliant catch.

In his next over, Sreesanth got rid of Stephen Fleming whose poor run in the tournament continued as he off-drove uppishly for Karan Goel to take a simple catch, reducing Super Kings to 20 for two.

Thereafter, Badrinath (64 of 47 balls) and Suresh Raina retrieved the situation with some sensible batting to add 44 runs for the third wicket. Just as the pair was looking well entrenched, Raina top-edged a sweep off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla to Shaun Marsh.

At 64 for three in the seventh over, the innings was poised on knife-edge when Dhoni (unbeaten 60 off 43 balls) joined Badrinath and immediately began to time his shots.

Dhoni and Badrinath spared no bowler. The Chennai captain slammed Chawla for two consecutive sixes in his third over while Badrinath was severe on seamer James Hopes who went for a few boundaries.

The pair raised the 100 of the innings in the 11th over with Yuvraj persisting with Chawla who was clearly being targeted. In fact, Chawla conceded 36 runs in his three overs before Yuvraj took him off the attack and brought back Irfan Pathan.

Badrinath cut loose with two stunning sixes over long-on and midwicket as the 50 partnership between the duo was raised in 33 balls. Yuvraj then brought himself on in a desperate bid to break the partnership. However, neither batsman let up with Badrinath reaching his half-century off 33 balls.

The hosts somewhat lost momentum when Badrinath, in a bid to quicken the pace, gave away his wicket, lofting VRV Singh to Yuvraj at mid-off in the 18th over. By then, Badrinath and Dhoni had added 91 off 64 balls for the fourth wicket.

Badrinath's innings was studded with six boundaries and three over boundaries while Dhoni hit two fours and four sixes.

For Kings XI, Sreesanth was the pick of the bowlers taking two wickets for 29 runs of his four overs while Singh and Chawla picked up wicket apiece.

source - cricket20.com
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