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Super Kings storms into the semifinals

A. Joseph Antony

Suresh Raina and M.S. Dhoni set up an easy win

Chennai’s 16 points sees it through to the last four

Chargers ends its assignments with four points

— PHOTO: H. Satish

MATCH-WINNING KNOCK: Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 54 helped Chennai Super Kings enter the semifinals of the DLF-IPL on Tuesday.

HYDERABAD: Sailing on Suresh Raina’s spirited and unconquered 54, Chennai Super Kings marched to the semifinals of the DLF Indian Premier League, posting an authoritative seven-wicket victory in its last outing over Deccan Chargers at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium on Tuesday night.

The side rarely relinquished its grip on the contest, containing Chargers to a manageable total and going about achieving that milestone with a fair measure of comfort.

Standing tall in its campaign was man-of-the-match Suresh Raina, who helped himself to five boundaries and a brace of big hits along the way. Chipping in with a useful 37 was M.S. Dhoni, the Chennai captain.

Early setback

The left-handed opening pair of Fleming and Patel seemed to be cruising when the former nicked Vijay Kumar into Gilchrist’s gloves. Picking holes in field placements, Raina struck twice to the cover region. Patel patted one down to the third man ropes, prompting Singh to sling a snorter at the Chennai stumper, who ducked deftly out of harm’s way.

With his bowling resources limited, Gilchrist chose to experiment, introducing Sarvesh Kumar into the attack when Patel and Raina sized up the mainline bowlers soon enough. That moved paid off, as Patel punched the youngster to the waiting palms of Afridi at mid-off.

From 41 for one in five overs, the Super Kings slowed down to 72 for two in 10, the guiles of Pragyan Ojha and Scott Styris’s tidy line finding runs trickling in for a while, mostly through singles. Dhoni then teamed up with Raina, the association yielding 55. When the skipper departed, pouched by Gibbs at long-on, Chennai Super Kings needed 33 from 26 balls.

The Hyderabad squad’s fielding spurted from sluggish to sprightly, but little could be done to stop Raina. The southpaw stylist had his way, dogged, determined and difficult to dislodge.

Raina’s straight-driven six with four balls to spare, sealed victory and a semifinal berth.

Earlier, tottering at 57 for three, more than half-way through their innings, Deccan Chargers set the Super Kings not too tall a target of 148, the aggregate attaining a degree of respectability thanks to a 76-run fourth-wicket stand between Venugopala Rao (46, 47b, 1x6, 2x4) and Dwaraka Ravi Teja (40, 28b, 4x4, 1x6).

The scores:

Deccan Chargers: A. Gilchrist c Abhinav b Gony 5, H. Gibbs c Balaji b Ntini 8, S. Styris b Muralitharan 20, Venugopala Rao (run out) 46, Ravi Teja c Abhinav b Morkel 40, S. Afridi c Raina b Balaji 1, Arjun Yadav b Morkel 0, R.P. Singh c Morkel b Balaji 10, P. Ojha (not out) 1, Extras (b-1, lb-8, w-7): 16; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 147.

Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-15, 3-57, 4-133, 5-134, 6-134, 7-146, 8-147.

Chennai Super Kings bowling: M. Ntini 4-0-24-1, M. Gony 4-0-21-1, Morkel 4-0-37-2, Muralitharan 4-0-22-1, Balaji 4-0-34-2.

Chennai Super Kings: P. Patel c Afridi b Sarvesh 20, S. Fleming c Gilchrist b Vijaykumar 14, S. Raina (not out) 54, M.S. Dhoni c Gibbs b Ojha 37, Morkel (not out) 12, Extras (lb-3, w-8): 11; Total (for three wkts. in 19.2 overs): 148.

Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-60, 3-115.

Deccan Chargers bowling: R.P. Singh 4-0-32-0, Vijaykumar 3.2-0-32-1, Afridi 3-0-20-0, Sarvesh 2-0-18-1, Ojha 4-0-28-1, Styris 3-0-15-0.

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