Chennai Super Kings were crowned Champions League Twenty20 winners last night after outplaying the Warriors at the Wanderers on their way to an eight-wicket victory.
Muttiah Muralitharan (three for 16) and Ravichandran Ashwin (two for 16) starred with the ball to restrict the home side to a mediocre 128 for seven, with only home captain Davy Jacobs (34) making any meaningful contribution. Murali Vijay (58) and Michael Hussey (51) then hit half-centuries in a 103-run partnership to hand the Indian Premier League (IPL) champions the title of best Twenty20 club in world cricket.
MS Dhoni, the Chennai captain, was naturally ecstatic and a tad sentimental after the victory. "It's the last time we're playing as a unit," he said, indicating that the upcoming IPL auction may see some of the players making an exit or being transferred. "Can't end it better, winning the IPL and now the Champions League. It's a very emotional moment for us." After winning the toss, the Warriors made a rapid start, putting on 39 for the first wicket, in which the out-of-form Ashwell Prince contributed just six before he played on to a Doug Bollinger delivery.
Jacobs, who found the boundary eight times in his 21-ball stay, fell shortly after when he was trapped leg before wicket while trying to reverse sweep Ashwin, the leading wicket-taker in the competition and man of the series, leaving his side at 45 for two in the sixth over. Colin Ingram and Justin Kreusch then found the going tough against the slower bowlers, reaching the halfway stage with 66 on the board, and the loss of the former for 16 further hampered their progress.
Muralitharan then struck a double blow in the 14th over removing the dangerous Mark Boucher (five) and Kreusch (17). Craig Thyssen (25) tried to lift the Warriors, but the two spinners proved difficult to get away as they kept the victory target down to a below-par 129. In reply Vijay, who surpassed Jacobs during his stay to end as the top-run getter in the tournament, and Hussey were calm, yet convincing, in their approach.
They took seven overs to reach 50, before the India opener raised his 50 from 47 balls. The century stand followed in the 15th over, before his wicket fell followed by that of Suresh Raina (two). But Hussey and Dhoni (17 not out) guided their side over the line. Jacobs was disappointed by the final outcome but was happy to have gone further than expected. "They beat us twice in the competition and they deserve to win it. We couldn't get over the line but we're happy," he said.