CSK Seal Semifinal Spot After A Thrilling Encounter




Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings

Port Elizabeth: Chennai Super Kings defending 136, qualified for the semifinals of the Airtel Champions League with a 10-run victory over Cape Warriors at the St. George’s ground, Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

In the semis now, CSK will meet Royal Challengers Bengaluru on Friday, while South Australian Redbacks will take on the Warriors on Saturday. The first semi final encounter confirms entry of an Indian team to the finals.

The Warriors, ahead of Victoria on net run rate, too made it once it scored 109 during the chase. Off-spinners Ashwin got 24/3 and Muttiah Muralitharan 17/2 were outstanding for CSK. The side’s catching in the deep was brilliant. Michael Hussey was declared Man-of-the-Match for his brilliant half-century and excellent display of fielding.

The Warriors began confidently before an outstanding, diving catch from Justin Kemp in the slips ended Ashwell Prince’s innings; off-spinner R. Ashwin had spun the ball away from the left-hander. Skipper Davey Jacobs,32 off 31 balls was stroking well when a fine leaping catch by Michael Hussey on the mid-wicket fence sent him back to the dugout. Left-arm spinner Jakati had struck for CSK.

Colin Ingram’s shot landed in the deep down the fielder’s throat off Suresh Raina’s off-spin. With the ball not quite coming on to the bat, CSK defended a moderate target with great resilience.

Earlier, the CSK openers laid a solid foundation after the side elected to bat. Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay put on 63 runs in 8.4 overs. Vijay’s 27-ball 35 included forceful strokes through point and cover and fluent flicks. The opener also freed his arms, striking paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe and left-arm spinner Nicky Boje for sixes over mid-wicket.

Vijay was dismissed when he walked down the track to paceman Justin Kreusch and missed a flick off a fuller ball. The left-handed Hussey collected runs with typical efficiency, striking the ball into the empty spaces on both sides of the pitch. He was also inventive, reverse-sweeping Boje to the fence and sweeped to spinner Johan Botha sailing the ball over the boundary.

However, CSK gradually lost its way. The in-form Suresh Raina was brilliantly held at long-on by Colin Ingram off the nagging Kresusch. Soon, Hussey’s innings 50 from 39 balls came to an end when Botha, from round the wicket, consumed the batsman on the slog-sweep with a quicker, fuller delivery.

Badrinath swung across a short-of-a-length delivery coming into him from Kreusch to be bowled; CSK slumped to 99 for four in the 15th over. Kreusch bowled wicket to wicket and seamed the ball both ways.

Botha and paceman Juan Theron shone for the Warriors in the final overs. Dhoni 31* fired into Tsotsobe in the 19th over with two boundaries and a six but Theron, sending down precise yorkers, bowled a terrific final over. For most part, the Warriors’ fielding was brilliant.

However, the fielding brilliance of Warriors wasn’t enough, as they fell short by 10 runs and CSK made their way into the semis after a nail biting finish. Both the teams have now advanced to the semi finals stage of the competition on the basis of net run rate and Victorian Bushrangers were sent home back the same way as the Mumbai Indians due to low net run rate.

By: Devesh D. Bhuwad

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