Hyderabad: Chennai Super Kings stormed into their second Champions League T20 final with a crushing 65-run victory over Kings XI Punjab here on Thursday.
Chennai bowlers wreaked havoc to dismiss Punjab for 117 in 18.2 overs after Dwayne Bravo hammered 67 balls off 39 balls and took his team to an imposing 182 for seven in the second semifinal at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Mohit Sharma (2/14)), Ashish Nehra (2/9), Pawan Negi (2/28) and Suresh Raina (2/10) did the damage as Punjab's batting came a cropper. 2010 Champions Chennai now face reigning IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the final on Saturday.
The contest between Chennai and Punjab was billed as the battle of two batting heavyweights. Chennai lived up to the expectation but Punjab failed miserably. It became a one-side affair when Punjab collapsed to 61 for seven in the 11th over, needing an improbable 122 runs off the last 54 balls.
Wickets kept on falling regularly after Punjab lost opener Virender Sehwag in the first over. Glenn Maxwell too fell cheaply, ending his lean run in the competition. It was an unexpected batting collapse from Punjab, who came into the match as the only unbeaten side alongside Knight Riders.
Earlier, Bravo got good support from Faf du Plessis (46 off 33) to take Chennai to a challenging score. Parvinder Awana (4/30) and Akshar Patel (2/30) were the pick of the Punjab bowlers. Awana's hat-trick almost went unnoticed in the innings.
Punjab had things under control for the first six overs after skipper George Bailey decided to put the opposition in. Fast bowlers Anureet Singh and Awana impressed with the new ball against a dangerous Chennai batting unit. A quick incoming delivery rattled the stumps of Dwayne Smith (14) while his opening partner Brendon McCullum (6) played to rash shot to be caught at mid-wicket off Thisara Perera.
Raina (6) started his innings with a delightful drive through the cover before he pulled a sharp catch to Bailey at mid-on, leaving Punjab at 41 for three in six overs.
Chennai's batting runs deep and Raina's dismissal brought Bravo and and Du Plessis together at the crease. The two explosive men hung around for sometime before setting up the foundation for a big score. Their 65-run stand off 46 balls comprised big hits and some cheeky play especially from du Plessis, who used the scoop shot to good effect.
Bravo was brutal against pace and spin alike. He got to his fifty by smashing Anureet over extra cover, taking Chennai past 130 with five overs to spare. He had luck on his side too as Punjab dropped him twice.
The West Indian continued to find the fence at will before wickets of Negi (8) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (0) off successive balls put Chennai in a spot of bother. Bravo finally departed in the 19th over after playing a whirlwind knock.
Thanks to the batting it possesses, Chennai eventually managed to post a challenging total. Ravindra Jadeja's 27-run cameo of 13 balls proved handy towards the end.