In-form Michael Hussey shines again, Chennai sail into Champions League semis
Ranchi: Chennai Super Kings became the first team to qualify for the semifinals of the Champions League Twenty20 after scoring a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Brisbane Heat in a Group B match, here on Saturday.
The 2013 IPL finalists were in complete control of the match but for last three overs of the Heat innings and that prevented the match from becoming a lop-sided affair.
Chasing a modest 138 to win, Chennai sauntered to finish line with 25 balls to spare as they scored their third successive win to consolidate their top position in Group B.
Opener Michael Hussey top scored for them with an unbeaten 55-run knock and shared a solid 75-run stand for the opening wicket with Murali Vijay (42).
Vijay, who played more aggressively in the opening stand, faced 27 balls and hit five fours and two sixes while Hussey took 48-balls for his measured innings which had seven boundaries.
Suresh Raina came up with a 23-run cameo before being trapped by Daniel Christian while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (13) finished the match in style with a six off Ben Cutting.
After electing to bowl, Chennai had the Australian team on the mat as they had reduced Heat to 66 for six but some scintillating batting by Ben Cutting made it a contest as he led the side to respectable 137 for seven.
Cutting hit five sixes in his blistering 25-ball 42-run knock and added 71 runs with Chris Hartley (31) for the seventh wicket.
The spin trio of R Ashwin (1/10), Ravindra Jadeja (2/18) and Suresh Raina (19) did a brilliant job for CSK as they gave away just 37 runs in their combined 11 overs and shared four wickets among them.
Cutting and Hartley`s batting overshadowed the splendid work done by CSK spinners as they snatched the momentum from CSK after being reduced to 87 for six in 17 overs.
It all started in the Dwayne Bravo when Cutting smashed him for two sixes to bring up the hundred. A similar treatment was meted out to paceman Mohit Sharma in the last over.
Hartley also played his part as he hit consecutive fours off Sharma before holing it out in the last ball.
Brisbane Heat have suffered their third defeat in a row and are languishing at the bottom of the table.
CSK were in complete control of the match as paceman Sharma drew the first blood in the fifth ball of the match by having Dom Michael caught by S Badrinath in the cover region.
Albie Morkel dealt the Australians second blow by sending back skipper James Hopes (20).
Dhoni introduced Jadeja immediately after the power-play overs and the left-arm spinner responded with two wickets. In the first ball he removed key batsman Daniel Christian, who lofted the ball straight into the hands of long on Hussey, and in the fifth he had Joe Burns caught by Raina in slips.
Heats slumped to 55 for four and that could have been worse had Dhoni not dropped Chris Lynn off Ashwin in the next over. Lynn swung hard and top edged but Dhoni could not get his hands on to that as Suresh Raina watched.
However, Ashwin scalped him in his next over, again foxing him with his carrom ball as the edge flew to Jadeja. Raina came to the party by bowling out Chris Sabburg (2).