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Balaji shines with a hat-trick in Chennai Super Kings' win
R Eswar | May 11, 2008 00:23 IST
Last Updated: May 11, 2008 09:17 IST
Laxmipati Balaji registered the first hat-trick of the Indian Premier League to help Chennai Super Kings assert their supremacy over Kings XI Punjab and beat them by 18 runs in Chennai on Saturday.
Balaji claimed five wickets, including a hat-trick in the last over of the match, and gave away just 24 runs in his four overs to seal his team's victory.
This was the second win for the hosts over the Punjab team, as they had beaten them in the away tie early in the tournament.
Put in to bat, the Chennai team piled up a competitive 181 for four, thanks to superb batting by S Badrinath and Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images], and then restricted the visitors to 163 for nine in their quota of 20 overs.
Balaji provided crucial breakthroughs early and then got his hat-trick in the last over, in which the visitors required 27 runs for the victory.
Opener Shaun Marsh (58) hit a blazing half-century but that was not enough to earn a revenge victory for his team as other batsmen let the visitors down.
Marsh's innings came off just 38-balls, and had three boundaries and four sixes -- including a towering one which landed on the roof of the stadium, off Muttiah Muralitharan.
Like their opponents, the Punjab team also had a bad start losing two early wickets, with James Hopes (14) and Karan Goel (1) departing early.
Marsh and Ramnaresh Sarwan [Images] (20) did try to bring their team back in the match as they put together 64 runs for the third wicket. But Balaji, star bowler for the hosts, removed both of them in one over to deal a severe blow to the visitors' hopes.
The visitors lost three wickets in the space of seven deliveries. Irfan Pathan [Images] (40 not out) and Piyush Chawla (17) hit some lusty shots towards the end but that only helped in reducing the defeat margin.
Earlier, Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (60 not out) and S Badrinath (64) hit half-centuries to help Chennai Super Kings set a challenging target.
The hosts overcame two early jolts to pile up 181 for four, with Badrinath figuring in two crucial partnerships to lift his teams from the pits.
He first shared a 44-run stand for the third wicket with Suresh Raina and then joined hands with Dhoni to weave a 91-run partnership for the fourth wicket to take his team to a competitive total.
Bardrinath's knock came off 47 balls and was adorned with six boundaries and three shots over the ropes.
Dhoni's consumed 43-balls for his unbeaten innings, which was studded with two fours and four sixes.
At one stage, it looked as if the hosts would easily go past the 200-run mark but disciplined bowling by pacemen S Sreesanth [Images] and James Hopes at the death restricted the Chennai team to am achievable target.
Paceman Sreesanth (2/29) had given the visitors a perfect start by getting rid of S Vidut (8) and former Kiwi skipper Stephen Flemimg (1) inside first three overs.
He then sent Fleming packing, when the New Zealander drove him uppishly only to find Karan Goel at covers.
Leg-spinner Chawla broke the third-wicket partnership but was hit mercilessly by rival skipper Dhoni, forcing Yuuvraj to take him off the attack.