Back in India for the first time in IPL 2014, the Chennai Super Kings only looked more formidable as the former champs cruised to the most comfortable of wins in MS Dhoni's own backyard against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday night.
The sell-out Ranchi crowd were made to wait for an hour and a half due to rain, but once the 17-over a game got rolling there was no stopping the Dhoni-led CSK juggernaut.
Choosing to bat first, CSK, with Brendon McCullum coming back to haunt his own side, romped to 148 for three in their 17 overs, with KKR, in their chase, or rather car crash, slumping to 114 for nine to hand the Super Kings a massive 34-run victory, their fifth straight in IPL 7.
Gautam Gambhir, after a decent innings in his last match, fell back to his disappointing groove, unable to give KKR that much-needed big start along with Robin Uthappa, who opened the innings for the first time IPL 2014.
Gambhir ran himself out, going for a single that was never there, putting the onus on Uthappa and Jacques Kallis to set that solid base for the chase.
The two got KKR's hopes up in the over after Gambhir's dismissal, the fourth, with the two batsmen taking Mohit Sharma for 15 runs in his first over. But that was as good as it got for the Knight Riders, with the capitulation beginning in the fifth over - Kallis (4, 6b, 1x4) picking out Mithun Manhas perfectly at deep square leg off Ashwin.
If losing Kallis was a blow, it only got worse as Manish Pandey and Shakib Al Hasan fell in successive deliveries, as Ravindra Jadeja (4-0-12-4) brought his golden arm into play. Pandey first looped a catch to McCullum in the covers, before Shakib threw his wicket away, going for a big shot first ball and finding Mohit at deep midwicket.
With the required rate over ten at that point, it was a slaloming crash for KKR, despite Uthappa (47, 38b, 5x4, 1x6) and Yusuf Pathan's (41, 29b, 1x4, 4x6) - yes no typo there - best efforts.
Earlier, CSK got off to a solid enough start, with Brendon McCullum, against his former side, yet again coming to the fore.
It was wonderful batting from CSK with the batsmen finding the boundary at will without really taking any risks. McCullum took the bowlers to the cleaners with his pull shots, Raina with his astute finding of the gaps and Dwayne Smith, for a brief while, through his belligerent straight hitting.
Smith (16, 11b, 2x4, 1x6) could not get his gears clicking into overdrive for another match, with the West Indian, after a couple of typically Smith big shots, falling to Shakib, a couple of deliveries after he was a little lucky to stay at the crease, surviving a stumping because the ball was called dead as Shakib's towel fell down on delivery.
Raina gave good company to McCullum following Smith's dismissal, with the left-hander calmly keeping the rate buzzing as "Baz" at the other end kept finding the boundary every now and then.
The two put on 70 runs in just 8.1 overs to set the perfect platform for Dhoni and co. to go crazy in the final overs in this curtailed tie. Raina (31, 25b, 5x4, 1x6), after seeing CSK to a position of comfort, holed out to Shakib in the 11th over.
Dhoni did not, or could not, quite go six-crazy in the final overs, with McCullum (56, 40b, 5x4, 2x6) falling a little after reaching his half-century in the 15th over, with the CSK skipper and Ravindra Jadeja seeing their side through to 148, a total was enough and more against the struggling KKR side.