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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chennai Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians to reach IPL 6 final

If it's the playoffs, it's got to be CSK!
With so many dreary off-the-field happenings and the most expensive franchise deciding to pull out, the only good news for the BCCI on Tuesday was the on-field entertainment dished out by two CSK batsmen in the first qualifier between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.

CSK made their fourth consecutive final in the bargain, their fifth in six years of the tournament, with a resounding 48-run win in what was supposed to be a contest of equals but turned out to be anything but as Mumbai's formidable bowling unit came a cropper. Their in-form batsmen too faltered under pressure of a huge 193-run target, sinking to 144 all out with eight balls to spare.

CSK owed the target to a spectacular 140-run stand from 12.4 overs by the dependable power duo of Michael Hussey (86 not out; 58b, 10x4, 2x6) and Suresh Raina (an unbeaten 82; 42b, 5x4, 5x6), whose free-flowing blades ensured much cheer around the Ferozeshah Kotla as Chennai motored to 192 for the loss of only one wicket batting first.

In contrast to the sombre mood which has enveloped the league, the thousands who congregated at the Kotla didn't seem to mind the fireworks, the blaring music, the swaying cheerleaders or the emcees. They came looking for a good time and even the absence of hosts Delhi Daredevils went unnoticed. MI now get a second chance to redeem themselves with another crack at a final berth in the second qualifier in Kolkata on Friday.

Only MI opener Dwayne Smith (68 off 28 balls; 6x4, 5x6), who connected with some mighty heaves but pushed his luck too far, managed to temporarily upset CSK's composure. Dinesh Karthik fell to a debatable LBW decision and Rohit Sharma, for once, failed to get going, ensuring half the job done for CSK.

Kieron Pollard's dismissal just when he seemed to be getting into the groove, having carted game-changer Ravindra Jadeja (3/31 off his four) for two consecutive sixes in the 15th over before being undone by MS Dhoni's clever field placements, sealed the deal for CSK.

Two spectacular catches, one from Suresh Raina to dismiss Mitchell Johnson and the other by Dwayne Bravo to get rid of Pragyan Ojha and finish off things, provided the icing on the cake.

Rohit Sharma will feel let down by his bowlers, who were left groping for answers as Chennai opted to bat first. The move to hold back Lasith Malinga for the death overs came a cropper as 123 runs were scored off the last 10 and the decision to replace Dhawal Kulkarni with Munaf Patel didn't really pay off either. Only Harbhajan, who gave away only 26 off his four, came away with reputation unscathed.

Mumbai could never really put the brakes on the scoring. Vijay's was the only wicket to fall in the eighth over but by the end of over 15, Hussey and Raina had taken the score to 125/1. From the 10th to the 15th they went at 11.20 an over, and then the slogging really began, with runs coming at an incredible rate of 13.40 off the next five!

CSK's tried and tested method of steady if unspectacular starts and explosive endings came off in splendid fashion, and MS Dhoni wasn't even required to bat!
the Independent 

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