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Spinners turn it on for Chennai

— PHOTO: AFP

GOT HIM: Thilan Thushara (right) of Chennai Super Kings celebrates after dismissing Sunny Sohal of Kings XI Punjab in the IPL match on Wednesday.

DURBAN: A magnificent bowling performance from its spinners helped Chennai Super Kings defeat Kings XI Punjab by 24 runs in a low-scoring IPL game at Kingsmead on Wednesday.

Although it suffered a batting failure, Chennai finished the league stage in style, moving to second place behind Delhi Daredevils. Despite the defeat, Kings XI Punjab, in theory, still has an outside chance of making the semifinals.

For Chennai, Muttiah Muralitharan (two for eight from four overs), R. Ashwin (two for 13 from four overs), and Suresh Raina (two for 17 from four overs) combined to keep Punjab to 92 for eight in 20 overs.

Chennai’s bowlers, led by Muttiah Muralitharan, exerted pressure on Punjab. The batsmen couldn’t escape the shackles. Muralitharan bowled Katich behind his legs and had Pomersbach caught smartly at slip before Raina bowled Yuvraj Singh to reduce Punjab to 49 for four. Off-spinner Ashwin then took two wickets, including that of the valuable Kumar Sangakkara. Ashwin forced Sangakkara into hitting a return catch before trapping Wilkin Mota leg-before. Raina had Brett Lee caught in the deep to all but settle the contest.

Earlier, Chennai had an opening partnership of 40 before Punjab’s bowlers crippled the innings. George Bailey and Parthiv Patel batted busily before their partnership ended in a run out. Sreesanth struck twice in the tenth over to hurt Chennai. He dismissed S. Badrinath before bowling Dhoni with a marvellous yorker.

SCOREBOARD

Chennai Super Kings: G. Bailey (run out) 15 (12b, 3x4), P. Patel b Powar 32 (23b, 4x4, 1x6), S. Raina c Lee b Mota 20 (21b, 2x4), S. Badrinath c Pathan b Sreesanth 4 (9b), M.S. Dhoni b Sreesanth 2 (2b), J. Oram c & b Pathan 17 (21b, 1x4), M.S. Gony b Chawla 7 (5b, 1x6), R. Ashwin c Pomersbach b Pathan 8 (15b, 1x4), T. Thushara (run out) 1 (5b), L. Balaji (not out) 2 (6b), M. Muralitharan (not out) 1 (1b), Extras (b-3, lb-2, w-2): 7; Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 116.

Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-54, 3-68, 4-70, 5-87, 6-96, 7-105, 8-109, 9-114.

Kings XI Punjab bowling: Lee 4-0-16-0, Pathan 4-0-32-2, Powar 4-0-19-1, Sreesanth 4-0-23-2, Chawla 2-0-13-1, Mota 2-0-8-1.

Kings XI Punjab: S. Sohal c Patel b Thushara 3 (9b), S. Katich b Muralitharan 8 (13b, 1x4), L. Pomersbach c Raina b Muralitharan 26 (32b, 1x4, 1x6), Yuvraj b Raina 6 (19b), K. Sangakkara c & b Ashwin 7 (9b), W. Mota lbw b Ashwin 5 (10b), I. Pathan c Oram b Thushara 14 (12b, 1x4), B. Lee c Oram b Raina 6 (7b, 1x4), P. Chawla (not out) 4 (4b), R. Powar (not out) 7 (5b, 1x4), Extras (lb-3, w-3): 6; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs) 92.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-32, 3-45, 4-49, 5-59, 6-60, 7-67, 8-83.

Chennai Super Kings bowling: Gony 2-0-9-0, Thushara 4-0-28-2, Muralitharan 4-0-8-2, Ashwin 4-0-13-2, Raina 4-0-17-2, Balaji 2-0-14-0.

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