By BD Narayankar
Bangalore: May 23, 2012
Riding on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's blistering 20-ball 51-run innings, defending champions Chennai Super Kings romped into the second qualifiers by knocking out Mumbai Indians with a comfortable 38-run victory in the IPL eliminator.
With this win, Chennai inched closer to their third successive title and will now lock horns with Delhi Daredevils on Friday at home in the qualifier-II, the winner of which will take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the summit clash on Sunday at the same venue.
The thrilling victory at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here also paved Chennai's way to the next Champions League.
The victory was set up by two brilliant partnerships by Chennai batsmen. First it was the 94-run third-wicket stand between S Badrinath (47) and Michael Hussey (49), which helped Chennai to recover after being precariously placed at 1 for 2 in 1.2 overs.
While the second partnership was the unbeaten 73-run stand between skipper Dhoni (51 off 20) and Dwayne Bravo (33 off 14), which catapulted Chennai to a challenging 187 for five in their stipulated 20 overs.
It was a special innings by Dhoni as he butchered the Mumbai bowlers, blasting six fours and two sixes in his 20-ball whirlwind innings.
For Mumbai, Dhawal Kulkarni (3/46) was the most successful bowler, while Kieron Pollard (1/26) and James Franklin (1/12) took one wicket each.
Chasing the stiff target, Mumbai could muster only 149 for nine in their stipulated 20 overs with opener Dwayne Smith (38) being the top-scorer.
The Chennai bowlers also put up a brilliant show with Dwayne Bravo (2/10) and Albie Morkel (2/31) making the most damage, while SB Jakati (1/25), BW Hilfenhaus (1/45), R Ashwin (1/18), RA Jadeja (1/15) also contributing to the win.
Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar (11) took Mumbai off to a great start but they could not keep the tempo and lost regular wickets making their task impossible.
Mumbai were in the hunt til Kieron Pollard was at the crease. After the big-hitting West Indian left, it was all but over for Mumbai Indians. When he left Mumbai still needed 50-odd runs in 10 balls.
Mumbai began their chase in an emphatic manner with Smith smoking sixes and boundaries at will. Smith especially was harsh on Hilfenhaus smacking 28 runs in his first two overs.
The West Indian drilled a fabulous four through extra cover off Jakati and smoked a six and a four of Hilfenhaus.
Tendulkar too looked in great touch when he smoked two exquisite boundaries in his innings but he could not last long and was run out after involving in a terrible mixup.
Soon Smith also left the stage after scoring a quickfire 38 runs in 22 balls (4x5 6x2). He was holed out by Ravindra Jadeja at backward point as Mumbai slipped to 60 for two at the end of seven overs.
It was left to Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma to hold the fort, but the former was caught by Dhoni behind the stumps off Morkel's first delivery.
Rohit too disappointed the Mumbai fans after he could not ship his team further and gave Dhoni his second catch off Morkel's delivery. The Mumbaikar managed 14 runs off 19 balls.
Mumbai then had reached 77 losing four wickets.
Ambati Rayudu showed some sparks, scoring 11 runs off six balls, but could not progress further as he was soon caught at deep midwicket by Murali Vijay off Ravichandran Ashwin. Mumbai Indians were then 87 for five in 12 overs.
Mumbai reached 100 for five in 12.5 overs after Franklin played a short arm jab against Morkel but with the task getting tough, he lost his wicket while trying to pull a Bravo delivery only to give Dhoni his third catch.
After 14 overs, Mumbai needed 85 runs in six overs with a required runrate of 14.17 runs per over. As long as Kieron Pollard was at the crease, there was some hope but once he was gone, it was all over for Mumbai. (PTI)
Brief Scores: CSK 187 for 5 from 20 overs (MS Dhoni 51*, Michael Hussey 49, Subramaniam Badrinath 47; Dhawal Kulkarni 3 for 46) bt MI 149 for 9 from 20 overs (Dwayne Smith 38, Kieron Pollard 16; Dwayne Bravo 2 for 10, Albie Morkel 2 for 31) by 38 runs.
Man of the Match: MS Dhoni