Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chennai Super Kings Storm into IPL SEMI-FINALS

MS Dhoni and Subramaniam Badrinath smashed half-centuries as Chennai sealed a six-wicket IPL victory over Mohali at Dharamsala.

Shaun Marsh made Chennai pay dearly for lapses in the field as he smashed an unbeaten 88 and, with excellent support from Irfan Pathan (44 not out) and Kumar Sangakkara (33), powered Kings XI to a formidable 192 for three.

In reply, Badrinath (53) and Suresh Raina (46) kept Mohali in the hunt before Dhoni (54 not out) finished off the chase with a couple of towering sixes.

The victory, with two deliveries to spare, lifts Chennai to second in the table and their superior net run rate all but assures them of a place in the semi-final later this week.

Mohali signalled aggressive intent at the start and maintained the tempo thanks to some poor fielding from Mohali.

Mahela Jayawardene smashed Sudeep Tyagi for two sixes in the first over and went on contribute 21 in an opening stand worth 34 before Tyagi took an outstanding catch at the mid-on to remove the Sri Lanka batsman.

Albie Morkel, however, put down a far more simple catch from Marsh in the next over while the batsman was on 10, a missed opportunity which proved costly for Mohali.

Marsh and Sangakkara rebuilt nicely and got Mohali close to the 100-run mark with a 56-run stand for the second wicket.

Sangakkara found the boundaries regularly and had looked in supreme touch until he went down on one knee to swipe off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin across the line, missed completely and was bowled.

Yuvraj Singh's cheap dismissal then gave Mohali a glimmer of hope, but Pathan quickly closed the door with a solid batting performance which helped Mohali to a strong total.

Marsh, who was dropped again at the start of the 19th over, put on 99 with Pathan and en route reached his seventh IPL half-century with a towering six off Raina.

Ramesh Powar then gave Mohali a strong start in the field by removing Matthew Hayden for five in his second over with the new ball.

Powar struck again in his next over to get rid of the other opener, Murali Vijay, but Raina and Badrinath revived the chase with a 62-run stand.

Raina hit three sixes and five fours and perished attempting a big shot off Juan Theron in the 10th over, but Badrinath forged on and together with Dhoni kept Chennai in contention.

Badrinath fell just after reaching his half-century and the Super Kings were left needing 45 from 20 deliveries at that stage.

Dhoni, however, upped the tempo and unleashed an array of attacking strokes as Chennai raced across the line

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