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Balaji stars in Super Kings’ win

Nandita Sridhar

— PHOTO: PTI

L. Balaji.

Chennai: S. Badrinath and M.S. Dhoni fed off each other’s frenzy to put on 91 runs in 64 balls for the fourth wicket, which helped Chennai Super Kings defeat Kings XI Punjab by 18 runs at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.

L. Balaji added to some climactic drama, managing the IPL’s first hat-trick, to seal the win for Chennai.

Batting first, Chennai Super Kings scored 181 for four. The team brought up its 100 in 10.5 overs.

Faced with a daunting task, Punjab needed to attack. James Hopes was taken by a delivery that was drifting down leg, which he helped reach Dhoni. Goel undercooked his upper-cut, and found third man off Gony. Shaun Marsh’s half-century offered hope. He was remorseless against P. Amarnath. A fullish delivery was clobbered over long-on and another travelled farther.

Marsh was equally punitive against Balaji and Muttiah Muralitharan, who he hit out of the ground. The execution was bereft of fuss. Balaji dismissed Ramnaresh Sarwan, uprooting the middle-stump with one that kept low. Marsh’s pull didn’t have enough beef and found Amarnath instead. Amarnath removed Yuvraj, whose cut met with failure.

Irfan Pathan entertained and threatened, but the target was beyond Punjab’s reach.

Balaji dismissed Pathan, Chawla and V.R.V. Singh for his hat-trick.

The scores: Chennai Super Kings: 181 for four in 20 overs.

Kings XI Punjab: S. Marsh c Amarnath b Balaji 58, J. Hopes c Dhoni b Morkel 14, K. Goel c Morkel b Gony 1, R. Sarwan b Balaji 20, Yuvraj Singh c Fleming b Amarnath 2, M. Jayawardene c Vidyut b Muralitharan 8, I. Pathan c Raina b Balaji 40, P. Chawla c Kapugedera b Balaji 17, V.R.V Singh c Dhoni b Balaji 0, U. Kaul (not out) 0, S. Sreesanth (not out) 0, Extras (lb-1, w-2) 3.Total (for nine in 20 overs) 163.

Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-29, 3-95, 4-96, 5-97, 6-115, 7-163, 8-163, 9-163.

Chennai Super Kings bowling: Gony 4-0-38-1, Morkel 4-0-25-1, Amarnath 3-0-35-1, Kapugedera 1-0-8-0, Muralitharan 4-0-32-1, Balaji 4-0-24-5.

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