x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Saha's 46 lifts Chennai to top of IPL

Wriddhiman Saha helps set up a 11-run win for Chennai Super Kings against Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the Indian Premier League

Wriddhiman Saha scored 46 not out to help the Chennai Super Kings defeat the Kochi Tuskers Kerala yesterday.
Wriddhiman Saha scored 46 not out to help the Chennai Super Kings defeat the Kochi Tuskers Kerala yesterday.

Wriddhiman Saha scored a responsible 46 not out to set up a 11-run win for Chennai Super Kings against Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the Indian Premier League.

Saha cracked three sixes and a four in his 33-ball knock as Chennai posted a competitive 152 for five before restricting Kochi to 141 for five on a slow track at the Chidambaram Stadium.

"If wickets would fall early, I was sent up," said Saha, the man of the match. "When I came out, I was just looking to rotate strike. We were thinking 140-150 was a good score. I enjoyed my fielding."

The victory, Chennai's seventh in a row at home, moved MS Dhoni's side to the top of the points table with nine wins from 13 outings.

"Our home record is something that we can be really proud of," Dhoni said. "It is a big achievement for us, but it does not mean that we have to relax a bit.

"You don't want to win all games easily if you want to make the semis."

IPL debutants Kochi bowed out of the tournament after going down to their eighth defeat from 14 games in the Twenty20 competition.

Brad Hodge top-scored with an unbeaten 51 off 42 balls to keep Kochi in the hunt but lacked support from the other batsmen.

"I thought 150 was a good score to chase," Parthiv Patel, the Kochi opener, said. "We had a plan to keep wickets in hands but we accelerated a bit too late. Chennai wicket is always on the slower side. We were in the game till the 10th over, wanted to accelerate from the 12th-13th over, but left it a couple of overs late."

Chennai did not get the start that they would have wanted after electing to bat, losing three quick wickets inside nine overs against some fine bowling and catching by paceman Rudra Pratap Singh.

After shattering the off-stump of opener Murali Vijay with a stinging yorker, Singh pulled off a stunning catch off Subramaniam Badrinath by diving to his right and picking the ball inches off the ground.

Australian Mike Hussey, whose clean catch by Patel off an attempted paddle sweep was turned down by umpire Rudi Koertzen, lifted the innings briefly with a 37-ball 32.

Saha, a surprise selection in India's one-day and Twenty20 squad for the upcoming tour of the West Indies, provided the late impetus to take the total past the 150-run mark. "You want to test your middle order, lower order and your bowlers," Dhoni said. "I think we are now ready for the big games. With 155-odd runs, we were looking at not giving many runs in the first six overs."