Defending champions Chennai Super Kings led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni suffered a shock at the hands of Kings XI Punjab as little known Mumbaikar scored a blistering unbeaten 120 off only 63 deliveries to help his team register a six wicket victory in their IPL-4 edition match here on Wednesday. Without any first class experience till date, Valthaty surprised their rivals, who were put to bat first on winning the toss by their new skipper Adam Gilchrist posted a huge total 188 for four in their stipulated 20 overs for a win. Major contributors for CSK to pile up such huge total were Murali Vijay, who cracked 74 off just 43 balls and a useful 66 by S Badrinath, besides Dhoni valuable 43 off just 20 balls. Valthaty has certainly shot into limelight like the lesser known players like Manish Pandey, Swapnil Asnodkar, Manpreet Singh Gony had done in the earlier editions. His century came off only 52 deliveries and it was an exhibition of clean hitting. Everything came from the meat of the blade. Also he showed that he can play the pull-shot to good effect when Tim Southee banged one short. Valthaty, who had featured in just 12 T20s before with a highest score of 70, made a difficult total look easy to achieve. The Indian captain used as many as seven bowlers to defend the total, but Valthaty ensured that he stayed till the end to accomplish the target.
Chennai bowlers including off spinner R Ashwin, Sri Lankan spinner
Suraj Randiv, medium pacers Tim Southee and Albie Morkel came in for some harsh treatment from the batsman who hit a flurry off boundaries in the initial overs as his skipper Adam Gilchrist was a mere spectator at the other end. Along with his skipper, Valthaty added 61 runs in 5.5 overs where the normally brutal Australian contributed only 19. He was holed out in the deep by Suraj Randiv off Albie Morkel’s bowling. With Shaun Marsh joining him, Valthaty never let the momentum slip away adding another 39 runs before Marsh was run-out due to a mix-up while going for the second run. With the score at 136 for two, suddenly CSK showed signs of making a comeback as Sunny Singh (20) was caught trying to go for an ugly hoick and southpaw Abhishek (0) soon followed adjudged leg before by Tim Southee.
But Dinesh Karthik (21 not out) batted sensibly during their unbroken 57 run partnership. It was Karthik who finished the proceedings with a huge six off left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati. The worst part for CSK was their ploy of opening the bowling with Ravichandran Ashwin unfortunately didn’t work today as the offie went for 37 runs in his four wicketless overs. Southee fared no better giving away 33 from four while Morkel took some stick giving away 38 from his three overs.
With this loss, Chennai won one and lost one so far in their IPL T-20
legue encounters, so far.