Michael Hussey and M Vijay were catalysts for Chennai in a 10-wicket win that came in 17.2 overs against a punchless Punjab side during Indian Premier League action.
Indian Premier League: Michael Hussey leads ruthless Chennai Super Kings past Kings XI Punjab
Punjab 138 (19.5 ov)
Chennai 139/0 (17.2 ov)
Toss Chennai, chose to field
Punjab D Hussey 41; Gurkeerat 31; Bravo 3-27
Chennai Vijay 50, M Hussey 86
Man of the match Mike Hussey (Chennai)
Mohali // Kings XI Punjab began the Indian Premier League with an annihilation of Pune Warriors India that ticked all the batting, bowling and fielding boxes. But against a Chennai Super Kings side on a mission to right the wrongs from their first-game defeat against Mumbai Indians, Punjab flopped.
Their bowlers picked up nary a wicket, but they had little to bowl at after they badly flubbed the batting and messed up on the field on Wednesday night at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali.
Chennai barely broke a sweat in a 10-wicket win that came in 17.2 overs, with Michael Hussey (86 off 54 balls) and M Vijay (50 off 50 balls) able to pace the chase comfortably, given Punjab's below-par total of 138 all out in 19.5 overs.
Hussey was particularly fluent, and apart from a brief, 10-ball period when Punjab missed two chances and saw a close call go against them. Vijay was more sedate at the start, but the pace Hussey set allowed him to settle in, and Vijay in turn played several pleasing shots.
Both men took full toll of their good fortune. Hussey was ruled in when Ryan Harris threw down the stumps in the seventh over. Hussey got the benefit of the doubt, with some camera angles suggesting he had a small part of the bat over the line, some suggesting otherwise. In the next over, Piyush Chawla put down a simple return chance off Hussey and Adam Gilchrist missed a stumping chance against Vijay.
That window was all Punjab had, and once it shut, the Chennai openers were up and away.
At the start, MS Dhoni inserted Punjab in on a pitch with a sprinkling of grass, and the Chennai bowlers maintained control for large parts of a Punjab innings that ended at least 20 runs short of what they had seemed, at one point, likely to attain.
Dwayne Bravo (three for 27) was in the thick of the action, coming back for a second spell of three for nine in two overs and taking three swirling catches in the outfield. Punjab was at risk early, with Dirk Nannes getting the wickets of Gilchrist, out to a splendid catch by Michael Hussey at gully, and Mandeep Singh, the openers.
With Punjab 50 for three in seven overs, David (41 in 36 balls) and Gurkeerat Singh (31 in 26 balls) steadied the innings with a 56-run stand off 43 balls. While that should have acted as a good platform to take off from, it remained the only part of the innings in which Punjab's batsmen were in control.
Eventually, given Michael's exemplary control of the chase, even 20 more runs would not have sufficed, and might, in fact, have allowed him to complete a well-deserved century.
Saurabh Somani is assistant editor at Wisden India
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