Dharamsala: A tremendous fight put up by the middle order warriors helped Chennai Super Kings survive the battle of ‘Kings’ against Kings XI Punjab in a nail-biting do-or-die encounter here on Sunday.
Stupendous innings by skipper MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and S Badrinath helped Chennai chase down a mammoth target of 193, and thus, seal the semi final berth for themselves.
Chennai Super Kings were earlier threatened by Ramesh Powar as the right-arm off-break spinner scratched the names of openers Matthew Hayden (1) and Murali Vijay (13) from their batting order very early in the game.
However, later both, Raina and Badrinath, made sure that all was not lost and with some smashing boundaries and sixes, they lifted their team’s score from a pitiable 27/2 to 148/4.
Suresh Raina missed his half-century by a few runs as his astounding 46-run innings helped Chennai Super Kings to recover from the early jitters of the game. Later, Badrinath added a super 53 runs to the team’s score to claim his IPL half-ton.
Badrinath’s dismissal, however, did give Chennai some jitters, but Dhoni jumped in to the rescue operation and played a fantabulous 54-run innings to seal the victory for his team.
Earlier, things seemed to be going Kings XI Punjab’s way as Shaun Marsh helped them score a super-massive 192/3 against Chennai Super Kings.
There were fireworks throughout the Kings XI Punjab innings as Marsh made sure that the cherry visited every part of the newly constructed Dharamsala stadium. The Australian all-rounder sizzled from the very beginning as he smashes eight massive boundaries and five super-massive sixes to post an enormous personal score of 88.
Chennai Super Kings’ skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and asked the Kings XI Punjab to set the target for them. ‘So be it’, said Marsh and immediately got down to business with opening partner Mahela Jayawardene.
The duo gave the perfect start to their team’s batting campaign, but were halted mid-way as Sudeep Tyagi played the spoilsport and dismissed Jayawardene for 21 runs, which came off just 8 balls with the help of a couple of boundaries and sixes each.
However, the dismissal did not hamper Punjab’s spirit as Marsh, along with another Sri Lankan big-hitter of the team and skipper, Kumar Sangakkara, kept the momentum going.
Later, Ravichandran Ashwin bowled out Sangakkara for 33 in the 11th over, putting an end to his fantastic 56-run partnership with Marsh. Star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh then stepped into the crease, hoping to do some wonders, but failed miserably as he was caught star all-rounder plumb in front of the wickets for just a run by Suresh Raina.
Nevertheless, Marsh continued to sizzle with his bat and claimed his IPL half-century. He found the perfect company in Irfan Pathan and both of them gave their supporters ample occasions to cheer and be happy by smashing boundaries and sixes every now and then.
Chennai Super King’s frantic efforts to dismiss any one of them to failed as time and again, poor fielding did them in. Neither were the catches taken, nor were the boundaries stopped while Marsh and Pathan continued to add weight to their team’s score.