Chennai Super Kings    PTI
Chennai Super Kings kept their semi-final hopes alive with the victory over Perth Scorchers PTI

By Freddie Wilde

Sep 28, 2014

The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) kept their chances of qualifying for the Champions League semi-finals alive with a comfortable 13 run victory against Perth Scorchers in Bengaluru on Saturday.


The victory ends the possibility of the Perth Scorchers progressing despite still having one match to play against the Lahore Lions, who need to win by 47 runs or with 33 balls remaining to elevate their Net Run Rate above CSK s.


The Scorchers very briefly threatened to challenge the Super Kings having put them into bat at 33 for three and then 56 for four before MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja propelled CSK to a challenging 155 on an unusually dry and uneven Chinnaswamy pitch.


Ultimately the Scorchers, although more than the sum of their parts, are just out of their depth at this level without at least a couple of star x-factor or international players.


Their bowling has proved to be strong throughout this Champions League season, especially the spin department: Brad Hogg, Michael Beer and Ashton Turner are a useful trio; and the skilful Yasir Arafat leads the seam contingent well. Nathan Coulter-Nile is a more than useful option too. And they ve also proved to be excellent in the field, both in the air and on the ground.


But their batting has been, and was always going to be, the big problem. They did only really bring two frontline batsmen with them in the squad. Two. Craig Simmons and captain Adam Voges. Below them wicket keeper Sam Whiteman and all rounder Mitchell Marsh are capable T20 batsman but certainly not the calibre or style of players that you d want to build an innings around. And below them youngsters Ashton Turner and Ashton Agar.


It looks weak, and is weak. You can t compete with the likes of Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab who have six amazing, frontline, international quality batsmen with two so-so batsman. It might work in the Big Bash League, where the Scorchers were admittedly blessed with Shaun Marsh too, but it won t work in foreign conditions against varied, stronger teams.


It should be said that the Scorchers batting is considerably dependent on the fast WACA pitch where they ve had so much of their success. A player like Simmons for example, who goes hard and fast at the ball, was always going to struggle on the slower Indian pitches. They ll certainly fare better in the Big Bash League this December.


Although the Scorchers batting has in fact been slightly weakened by double BBL|03 centurion Simmons departure to the Adelaide Strikers during the BBL Trade Period, although they do have opener Michael Klinger coming in the opposite direction. The BBL is a very strong league, but the Scorchers will certainly pose more of a threat in it than they did in the Champions League where their only win came via two last ball sixes against the Dolphins.


The Chennai Super Kings meanwhile will be particularly thankful to Robbie Frylinck, whose 27-ball 63 severely dented the Lahore Lions Net Run Rate gains from their victory over the Dolphins. The Lions must now win by an unlikely large margin to prevent the Super Kings joining the Knight Riders in the last four.

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014

(Freddie Wilde is a freelance cricket writer. You can follow him @fwildecricket)