ICL: Indian Cricket League

Chennai Super Kings seal semi-final spot


Mahendra Singh Dhoni lost the toss but everything else went right for his team, beginning with some tight bowling, as the Chennai Super Kings won the match against the Deccan Chargers and a spot in the semi-finals at the expense of the Mumbai Indians. Chennai will face Kings XI Punjab in one semi-final, while Rajasthan Royals take on Delhi Daredevils in the other.

Chennai had conceded 211 against Rajasthan in their previous game but the bowlers were up to the task this time as Deccan’s final attempt to win at home win went awry. Chennai’s opening bowlers were on the mark from the start: Makhaya Ntini bowled with pace and got good bounce and carry, while Manpreet Gony, the team’s leading wicket-taker, stuck to an impeccable length on off-stump and bowled through his four overs for 21. And they reaped the rewards soon, as both Herschelle Gibbs and Adam Gilchrist found the fielder at third man - Gibbs with a slash, Gilchrist with a thick outside-edge.

Deccan’s early runs came mainly in singles and Scott Styris, who’s had a terrible tournament, looked to be getting into rhythm with boundaries in the arc between midwicket and mid-on till he was bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan while trying to hit one across. At 57 for 3 after ten overs, Deccan needed a partnership and Venugopal Rao and Ravi Teja came up with a 76-run stand that lent respectability to the eventual total. Muralitharan was hard to get away but the two went after Balaji in the 14th over, which cost 14.

They managed to up the run-rate with a boundary every over, and Rao, often at the centre of Deccan’s rearguard actions, hit one to bring up the 100 in the 16th over. There was a flurry of runs, Teja slashing one high into the stands off Ntini in an over where he was taken for 15 runs. That he ended with figures of 1 for 24 off his four told the full story.

That burst was followed by a flurry of wickets, including three - one of them a run-out - in three balls in the 19th over. The crowd had chanted Shahid Afridi’s name but he lasted two balls as Deccan limped to 147.

Deccan, and Mumbai, needed a wicket early and RP Singh nearly got the breakthrough as Stephen Fleming fended at one that swung away, but both Gilchrist and Styris were late to react. Fleming and his fellow left-hand opener Parthiv Patel cashed in when the bowlers erred: short and wide deliveries were dispatched for fours. P Vijaykumar then decided to go round the wicket, and it worked, as Fleming got a thick outside-edge while trying to force a drive through the covers.

In came Suresh Raina and he soon found his rhythm, slapping one riskily in the air through the covers, before punching one through the same region. Afridi was brought into the attack as early as the fifth over, and he put a brake on the scoring. At the other end, Raina got consecutive boundaries in Sarvesh Kumar’s first over, but the pressure applied from Afridi worked as Parthiv played straight to cover in Sarvesh’s next, Afridi taking the catch.

Raina was joined by Dhoni, and the 55-run stand between the two put Chennai on course for victory. Dhoni started with two streaky boundaries - he hit one straight to Sarvesh first-up, who fluffed a chance, and a thick outside-edge flew to the third-man boundary. With left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and Styris managing to curb the runs, Dhoni decided to take a few risks. He stepped out to deposit Ojha over long-on, and after a miscued pull nearly landed in Gibbs’ hands at midwicket, he cut Styris for four. Afridi came back with 52 needed off 42 balls, and Dhoni hit one dead-straight for four, before Raina smashed a shorter powerfully over midwicket for six.

Chennai were cruising towards the target, but had a brief wobble after Dhoni found Gibbs at long-on. That over, the 16th, went just for three, and when Styris conceded the same in the next, Chennai were left needing 28 off 18. Another tight over and Deccan could have still been in the hunt, but Raina found the gap at midwicket as Ojha bowled a full toss. He was dropped by RP in the 19th over, and hit the winning six - which brought up his fifty - as Chennai reached their target with four balls to spare. A jubilant Chennai camp celebrated their semi-final entry, while the bottom-placed Deccan, who suffered their seventh straight loss, are left with a lot to plan for the IPL’s next season.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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