Chennai pip Warriors by 10 runs, qualify for semis
Port Elizabeth: Chennai Super Kings defeated Warriors by 10 runs in a crucial Group A match and qualified for the semifinals of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament.
Electing to bat, Mike Hussey (50 off 39) and Murali Vijay (35 off 27) shared a 63-run opening stand before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni came up with a late 21-ball 31 to guide Chennai to 136 for six in their alloted 20 overs.
Chennai bowlers then rose to the occasion and restricted the Warriors to 126 for eight.
With this victory, Chennai have secured a place in the first semifinal against fellow Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore in Durban on Friday.
Even though Warriors lost the match, they too have qualified for the last four stage, pipping Victoria Bushrangers on net run rate.
Chasing the modest 137, Warriors needed 109 to book their their place in the semis and they finally went on to score 126 for eight.
Warriors will face South Australia Redbacks in the second semifinal on Saturday.
For Warriors, Justin Kreusch turned out to be the hero as he first picked up three wickets for 19 and then scored valuable 25 with the bat to help his side`s cause at the St George`s Park.
Warriors` chase never got going as they were dealt with the first blow in the fourth over in the form of Ashwell Prince.
Prince fell to a one-handed blinder from Justin Kemp in the slip off off-spinner R Aswin.
From there on, the home team found runs hard to come by against the Chennai slow bowlers, which eventually resulted in the dismissal of Warriors captain Davey Jacobs (32).
Jacobs was pounced by Hussey at deep midwicket off left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati as the right-hander went for a slog-sweep.
The slow bowlers again came to the party as part-time spinner Suresh Raina had Colin Ingram caught by S Badrinath at the midwicket boundary.
But after a fine showing with the ball, Kreusch also shone with the bat with a valuable 26-ball 25 and together with Mark Boucher (25) added 44 runs to guide Warriors into the semifinals even though the South African side lost the encounter.
Needing, 46 off the last four overs, Boucher relived the pressure with two sixes off Jakati.
But just when it seemed the Warriors will cruise home, Chennai picked up two wickets in a span of three balls to bring the match into balance.
First Kreusch departed, stumped by Dhoni off Ashwin and then three balls later Boucher was caught at long-on by Kemp.
New man in Johan Botha, somewhat, changed the complexion of the match when he struck Doug Bollinger for two boundaries in the penultimate over, but it was not to be Warriors` day as he perished in search of a non-existent double.