A Fight For The Semis




Champions League T20

Champions League T20

It is a rare sight to see two teams walking out satisfied at the end of a riveting cricket match. That’s exactly how the group stages of the Champions League T20 came to an end. Chennai Super Kings beat the Warriors by 10 runs to book their berth in the semifinals but not before they had some nail biting moments. Warriors, despite the loss, also progressed to the semifinals edging out Victoria Bushrangers as it came down to net run rate between the three teams.

Chennai, needing nothing less than a win to progress further in the tournament, looked down and out after they had managed to score only 136 in their stipulated 20 overs. The Super Kings got off to a brisk start as Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey put on 63 for the first wicket. After Kreusch bowled Vijay in the 9th over, he also got Raina out quickly courtesy a wonderful catch by Colin Ingram. Hussey, who was beginning to cut loose, was castled by the new South African T20 skipper Johan Botha from the other end. Kreusch also picked up Badrinath to complete his spell with figures of 3/19 as Chennai were struggling at 101/4 at the end of 15 overs. At a time where they should have accelerated the scoring, they could only manage 13 from the next 3 overs. However a late flurry from the skipper Dhoni including 17 runs from the penultimate over helped Chennai set a target of 137.

However Warriors knew that they needed only 109 to qualify for the semifinals. Chennai continued with their strategy of bowling Ashwin with the new ball and this paid rich dividends as he got rid of Ashwell Prince courtesy some good reflexes shown by Justin Kemp in the slips. The inform opener, Davey Jacobs got out for a solid 32. Chennai gave away no easy runs as the Warriors reached 54/2 at the halfway mark needing 83 runs of the last 10 overs, but they only needed 55 to progress to the semis. Kreusch and Mark Boucher, who came in at the fall of Ingram, struck some lusty blows as they reached 105/3 at the end of the 17th over, needing only 4 more to qualify and a very gettable 32 of the last 3 overs to knock Chennai out as well. However Ashwin, who got a battering in the super over last time around, removed both Kreusch and Boucher as he conceded only 7 from the 18th over. Warriors, who by now had qualified, needed 25 of the last 2 overs. Doug Bollinger and Muralitharan bowled tight overs as the Warriors were restricted to 126 and Chennai scraped through to the semis along with the Warriors.

It was a fitting finish to the group stages as Chennai now take on their IPL counterparts in the first semifinal while Warriors would look to upset the South Australian Redbacks who are yet to be beaten in the tournament. The result, however, would be a bitter pill to swallow for the Victorian Bushrangers, who despite losing only a single match, were knocked out from the tournament.

By: Monish Menon

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