The M Chinnaswamy Stadium – a batsman's paradise and a bowler's graveyard. So it proved to be, yet again, as sixes and fours rained with more regularity than a software engineer in Bangalore, with the Chennai Super Kings, after all that carnage, coming out winners over the Dolphins in an epic Champions League T20 game.
A total of 430 runs were scored, 25 sixes (16 from CSK, 9 from Dolphins) were thumped, and 35 fours (17 from CSK, 18 from the Dolphins) were caressed in the 40 overs, with CSK amassing a mammoth 242 for six in the first innings, as Suresh Raina (90) came to the fore. In reply, the Dolphins had a real crack at the target, giving CSK a right old scare, but the total proved to be just too much in the end, as CSK ran-out winners by 54 runs, with the South African side finishing on a would-have-been-a-wining-total-on-any-other-day 188 all out.
There was only one way that the Dolphins could go about chasing the near-impossible target – by thumping the ball to the boundary as often as possible – and boy, did they have a real go.
The first over from Ashish Nehra produced two fours and a six – all from Cameron Delport – with skipper Morne Van Wyk obliging with the same in the next over, before falling to R Ashwin, lbw, in the fourth ball of the second over.
However, 36 runs came from the first two overs, and then Delport decided to continue the assault, as the Dolphins raced to 50 in 2.3 overs (yes, seriously, 15 balls!).
Delport's (34, 9b, 5x4, 2x6) ridiculous knock would not continue, though, as Mohit Sharma's slow delivery did the trick, with the ball sneaking past the left-hander's bat to disturb the timber in the final ball of over number three.
With their openers gone, the Dolphins did not exactly drop anchor – well, they couldn't really, could they, not when you are chasing 243 – as Cody Chetty and Keshav Maharaj, who took a bit of a thrashing with the ball in the first innings, looked to keep the momentum going.
The duo put on 34 runs in four overs, before another slower one from Mohit (4-0-41-4) dismissed Maharaj, as the Dolphins storm was quelled a little bit at 90 for three in seven overs. The run flow after that came down largely thanks to some brilliant bowling from Dwayne Bravo, who finished with magnificent figures of 4-0-17-2.
Runs and boundaries did keep coming, but so did the wickets as CSK, after seeing victory slip from their grasp in dramatic style in their CLT20 2014 opener against KKR, refused to go down that road once again.
Earlier, it was take-off from over one really, with Dwayne Smith starting things off with a six against Maharaj, before holing out in the deep off the very next delivery to give the left-armer a wicket in the fifth ball of the innings.
However, Maharaj and Dolphins' joy would be short-lived, as Brendon McCullum decided to smash the bejesus out of the Dolphins bowlers. It was McCullum at his brutal best really, tonking pretty much every ball that was there to even remotely be tonked, with that boundary rope being either hit or crossed with ridiculous ease.
The first six overs produced 70 runs for CSK, with McCullum scoring 41 of those, and it was only the start of something truly wonderful from a batting point of view as the New Zealander and Raina put on 91 in 45 balls. McCullum (49, 29b, 5x4, 3x6) continued his smash-bang style, and inevitably fell in the ninth over, one run short of a half-century, which only opened the door for another T20 tyro –Raina – to use that willow to pummel some leather.
It was Raina at his awesome best – maybe not as brutal as that ridiculous innings in the IPL playoffs, but close enough – and all the Dolphins bowlers could do was hope every single delivery would not be sent into the Chnnaswamy stands.
It took CSK less than nine overs to get to their hundred, with Raina (90, 43b, 4x4, 8x6) taking charge until over number 14 – those sixes, time and again, over long-on and midwicket, taking the score to 164 in the 15th over, before the left-hander finally fell after miscuing another six-attempt off Robbie Frylinck, the bowler who, unfortunately, gave away two sixes in the final two balls against the Perth Scorchers.
Frylinck would then add another wicket to his kitty, cleaning up MS Dhoni first ball. But, the assault would continue, as Faf Du Plessis (30, 19b, 3x4, 1x6) smashed a few boundaries, before Ravindra Jadeja (40 n.o., 14b, 3x4, 3x6) thundered sixes from ball one to take CSK to the amazing score and pretty much guarantee a victory.