Murali's magic traps Pietersen first ball

Flintoff outshines his England team-mate as he leads Chennai to IPL victory
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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff's Chennai Super Kings thrashed Kevin Pietersen's Bangalore Royal Challengers by 92 runs in last night's Indian Premier League encounter here to go top of the table.

Flintoff and Pietersen are the joint most expensive players in the tournament, and it was the all-rounder who looked better value for money with a good knock with the bat and a tidy bowling spell. Pietersen fell for a golden duck, trapped lbw by the spin of Muttiah Muralitharan.

The former Australia opener Matthew Hayden scored 65 from 35 balls as Chennai made 179 for 5 after winning the toss – the highest Twenty20 score at St George's Park. Bangalore were always struggling in reply as they slumped to 87 all out.

Hayden and Parthiv Patel were on the offensive from the start for Chennai and brought up their fifty partnership in less than five overs, then reached the halfway mark at 106 without loss. Pietersen, the Bangalore captain, called a tactical time-out and the results were instant, the former England captain bowling Patel for 30 with his first ball.

The next ball saw Hayden's dive beaten by a direct hit from Rahul Dravid. The double strike slowed Chennai and they should have lost a third wicket but Dale Steyn floored a simple chance in the deep off Suresh Raina. The batsman made him pay with a fifth six of the innings but Praveen Kumar claimed another success in the same over when captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was caught for 16.

That brought Flintoff to the crease and he brought up the 150 with a four off Pietersen before Raina was caught on the boundary for 28 to give Praveen another wicket. Steyn bowled South Africa team-mate Albie Morkel with the final ball, leaving Flintoff unbeaten on 22 from 13 balls.

The Challengers, who in contrast to their opponents had won their first match, got off to a bad start as Manpreet Gony was bowled by Praveen for a duck in the first over. Jacques Kallis took the attack to the bowlers but his innings was ended at 24 when he was lbw to Morne Morkel to leave Bangalore 40 for 2. Their challenge faltered further when Ross Taylor was caught and bowled by Flintoff and Pietersen was given lbw to Muralitharan first ball, although the batsman looked to have got an inside edge.

Murali then had Robin Uthappa stumped as Bangalore fell to 50 for 5. The tail failed to hang around, with Flintoff taking the final catch to dismiss Rahul Dravid for 20 as the Challengers' challenge ended with five overs left.

*The West Indies coach, John Dyson, blamed the pitch at Grace Road after his side struggled to make an early impression on the opening day of their tour match against Leicestershire. The tourists finished on 80 for 4 after Leicestershire were dismissed for a lowly 182.