RANCHI: The new season for MS Dhoni started off on a winning note after the Chennai Super Kings hunted down a formidable target set by Titans in the game three of the CLT20 at the Jharkhand Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Although Dhoni didn’t score much but the four-wicket win gave enough reasons for the partisan crowd to cheer on their home town hero.
The spectators were in for some batting treat, first from AB de Villiers, who was in the rival camp. Riding on his 77 off 36 balls (3×4, 7×6), Titans piled up a handsome 185 for five. Who could think that innings would be reduced to a footnote by a sublime Michael Hussey (47 off 26; 7×4, 1×6) and a murderous Suresh Raina (47 off 28 balls; 5×4; 2×6)
All that was left after their partnership was the finishing touch, which had to come from Dhoni, but it did not. The best finisher in world cricket began the job with a straight six off Morne Morkel but perished going for the jugular to be caught at cover by De Villiers.
Jadeja, who had an off day, could not finish the job either but Albie Morkel wrapped it up with seven balls to spare, driving Rowan Richards through the covers for four. CSK were also helped by the fact that the Titan gave away 24 runs in wides.
There were periods in the match when it seemed Dhoni’s charm won’t work on Sunday. Making a fresh start after a break, Dhoni sported a new haircut but till De Villiers’s adventurous and innovative shot-making was on, nothing seemed going Chennai Super Kings’ way. He got a life on 30, when Mohit Sharma could not hold on to a hard-hit lofted shot at deep cover but that was nothing more than a half-chance.
What preceded and followed was mayhem. De Villers scored 77 off 36 balls hammering three fours and seven sixes, while captain Henry Davids chipped in with 52.