Chennai Super Kings became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 after their eight-wicket win over the Brisbane Heat on Saturday. The win gives Chennai three wins in three matches and they look every bit like the title favourites everyone thought them to be. Although it was a low-scoring match, there were a lot of eye-catching performances. Shrikant Shankar writes about some of the top individual performances from the match and why.
The Australian looked in form for the amount of time he spent in the middle. Despite losing his opening partner Dom Michael in the first over, James Hopes played with a lot of positive intent. He scored 20 off 14 balls with four fours. He came down the track to Albie Morkel and tried to hit one on the off-side, but mistimed it and the ball went to Jason Holder at mid-off.
Chris Lynn also played his part in Brisbane posting a competitive total on the board. His 25-ball 29 had four fours and one six. The right-hander was losing partners at regular intervals and he too followed suit quickly. He hit Ravichandran Ashiwn’s away-spinning delivery to Ravindra Jadeja at gully.
Chris Hartley was the last batsman dismissed for Brisbane, but only after scoring a 32-ball 35; the knock included three fours. He was into his shot when Mohit Sharma’s slower delivery surprised him. Hartley was already into his shot and only managed to find Holder at short fine-leg.
He was by far the best player for Brisbane on the day. Ben Cutting’s quick-fire knock ensured that Brisbane posted a total of 137 for seven. Cutting smashed five sixes in his knock of 42 off 25 balls. He also took the wicket of Murali Vijay.
Michael Hussey was the clear favourite to get the Man of the Match award. The Aussie left-hander scored an unbeaten 57 off 48 balls to guide Chennai through and win the match; he struck seven fours. The match did not require an aggressive innings and Hussey batted accordingly. That is what makes him such an important player.
It is a little odd that Murali Vijay got himself amongst the runs when the score was not much to chase, because in the previous two matches, Chennai played on belters and he got out for two ducks. He scored an enterprising 27-ball 42. He hit five fours and two sixes.
Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni
The reason both have been chosen together is that they came in at a time when there was not enough pressure on the Chennai batsmen. Suresh Raina scored 23 off 15 balls as he hit one four on two sixes. MS Dhoni, on the other hand, scored to 13 off five balls. He again finished off the match with a six, which is becoming like a trend nowadays. With the win, Chennai qualified for the semi-finals.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja
The spin-twins were miserly on the day and made sure the Brisbane players did not settle in the middle overs. Ashwin took one wicket for 10 runs in his favour. Jadeja, after struggling with the ball for the last two matches, answered his critics by taking the wickets of Dan Christian and Burns.
(Shrikant Shankarpreviously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)