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Insipid MI no match for the Super Kings

- CHAMPIONS LOSE 3 MATCHES IN A ROW; MOHIT & BRENDON SHINE
Brendon McCullum on way to an unbeaten 71, in Dubai, on Friday. (PTI)

Dubai: Brendon McCullum smashed a belligerent unbeaten 71 after Mohit Sharma’s heroics with the ball to guide Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to a comfortable seven-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI), in an Indian Premier League match here on Friday.

This was CSK’s third victory on the trot, while MI are yet to open their account in the tournament after having slumped to their third straight defeat.

MI chose to bat. But fine bowling by Mohit Sharma (4/14) in the death overs helped CSK keep the Mumbai team in check. The modest total of 141/7 proved too little in the end.

Coming on to bowl in the 19th over, Mohit picked up three wickets — Ambati Raydu, dangerman Kieron Pollard (12) and Harbhajan Singh — to prevent a late burst from Mumbai batsmen.

Apart from Mohit, Ben Hilfenhaus (2/39) picked up two wickets for the Chennai outfit.

The MI innings mainly revolved around captain Rohit Sharma and Correy Anderson. While Rohit made 50 off 41 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes, big-hitting Anderson scored 39 off 31 balls.

In fact, the 84-run third wicket partnership between the duo was the highlight of the MI innings. They had lost their openers for just 25 runs inside five overs.But once the duo departed, their innings fell apart. MI could manage just 33 runs off the last five overs for the loss of five wickets.

Chasing the target, Dwayne Smith (29) and McCullum got Chennai off to a flier with a 57-run opening stand off just 38 balls.

After two quiet overs, Smith took Pragyan Ojha to the cleaners and clobbered the left-arm spinner for two sixes straight over his head to get Chennai going. Smith then slammed Zaheer Khan for another six before McCullum joined the party and struck consecutive fours to pick up 16 runs off the fourth over.

McCullum matched his partner stroke for stroke and welcomed Anderson with three cracking boundaries, as Chennai raced off to 51 in just the sixth over. Smith, however, departed in the next over in search of one too many. He was caught by Anderson off Ojha, just after smacking the bowler for a six in the previous ball.

Chennai’s most-prolific scorer Suresh Raina too got out cheaply, stumped by C M Gautam off Harbhajan’s Singh.

But McCullum and new man Faf du Plessis went about their business in style and stitched 50 runs for the third wicket to take Chennai closer.

While Du Plessis played the anchor’s role, McCullum continued in the aggressive fashion with fours and sixes.

Du Plessis made 20 off 25 balls before he was stumped by Gautam off Harbhajan. (Agencies)