Chennai shift gears to knock out Mumbai in Eliminator

Chennai have never missed the last-four stage of the IPL, and they once again brandished champion stuff by staying in the hunt for the final with a clinical seven-wicket win yesterday night.
Suresh Raina has rose to the occasion many times for Chennai. He did it again yesterday. Ravindranath K / The National
Suresh Raina has rose to the occasion many times for Chennai. He did it again yesterday. Ravindranath K / The National

Mumbai 173-8 (20 ov)

Chennai 176-3 (20 ov)

Toss: Chennai, chose to field

Mumbai: Simmons 67; M Hussey 39; Mohit 3-42, Jadeja 2-31

Chennai: Raina 54 n.o, D Hussey 40 n.o, Du Plessis 35; Harbhajan 2-27

Man of the match: Suresh Raina (Chennai)

MUMBAI // Chennai Super Kings have never missed the last-four stage of the IPL and they again displayed the stuff of champions by staying in the hunt for the final with a clinical seven-wicket win at the Brabourne Stadium last night.

Their reward in chasing down a daunting 174-run target is a showdown with Kings XI Punjab in Qualifier 2 at the Wankhede Stadium tomorrow, with the winner of that game to play Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League final in Bangalore.

Lendl Simmons and Michael Hussey set about laying a foundation for Mumbai after being asked to bat. Simmons, usually adventurous without apparent restraint, was guided by his senior partner and they opened their shoulders in unison, taking 19 off the sixth over.

When Chennai turned to spin, Michael brought out his sweetest touch, skipping down the track to effortlessly time R Ashwin into the stands over midwicket.

But, just when the opening stand verged on becoming a serious threat, Michael swung across the line to a straight one from Ravindra Jadeja to lose his stumps. Michael had contributed 39 in an opening stand of 76 and his departure signalled a changing of gears from Simmons.

The West Indian lifted his aggression and it proved his downfall. He holed out to long-on for 74 off 44 balls as Mumbai, who had more or less cantered to 143 for two in 17.3 overs, proceeded to lose five wickets for the addition of only 21 runs in 15 balls.

What should have been the most profitable part of the batting innings ended up being a damp squib.

Chennai took every catch that came their way and the intensity of their ground fielding did not flag at any time in testing heat and humid conditions.

Chennai started the chase with some luck going their way. Praveen Kumar produced the perfect curler to nail Dwayne Smith on the back leg, dead in front of middle-stump, but umpire Bruce Oxenford let him off.

Smith clouted his way to 24 off 20 and Chennai had raised an even 60 from six overs when the openers were separated. Smith picked out Kieron Pollard at long-on and Faf du Plessis (35), in a mirror image, chipped to long-off four runs later.

If Harbhajan Singh inspired the stutter, Pragyan Ojha induced the skid as Brendon McCullum, returning to the mix after flying home for the birth of his daughter, gave the left-arm spinner the charge, was comprehensively beaten and smartly stumped.

At 87 for three, Chennai still had plenty of work to do, but Suresh Raina was at hand to take charge of the innings. Raina, who has never failed to tot up 400 runs in a season since 2008, got to the mark, and kept going.

When Harbhajan bowled out in the 13th over, returning excellent figures of two for 27, Mumbai were left lacking a quality bowler with Lasith Malinga on international duty in England.

Raina and David Hussey kept things remarkably simple, as a partnership characterised by good shot selection and hard running flowered into something more ambitious, and achieved victory with eight balls and seven wickets to spare.

Anand Vasu is managing editor at Wisden India. For more on IPL, visit wisdenindia.com or follow them on Twitter at @wisdenindia.

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Published: May 28, 2014 04:00 AM

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