It's Chennai vs Kolkata in IPL final
Chennai Super Kings stormed into their third straight Indian Premier League final with a resounding 86-run win over Delhi Daredevils at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Friday.
Opener M Vijay’s brilliant hundred (113, 58b, 15x4, 4x6) and fine cameos by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23, 10b, 1x4, 2x6) and Dwayne Bravo (33, 12b, 3x4, 2x6) carried two-time defending champions to an imposing 222 for five against Daredevils in the Qualifier 2, and then restricted Virender Sehwag’s men for a paltry 136 in 16.5 overs to emerge comfortable winners to set up a summit clash with Kolkata Knight Riders at Chennai on Sunday.
Chennai’s entry into the final was rather unthinkable a few days back after their defeat to Kings XI Punjab in their last league match at Dharamshala. The defeat meant Super Kings were stranded at 17 points with three other teams -- Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI and Rajasthan Royals -- having the chance to overhaul Chennai’s points tally and enter the play-offs.
But as fate would have it, both Rajasthan and Royal Challengers could not beat struggling Deccan Chargers in their final league games, and Kings XI went down to Daredevils. The results ensured that Super Kings stayed ahead of Royals (14) and Kings XI (16) on points, while they pipped RCB on better net run-rate, though the Bangalore outfit had also logged 17 points. Destiny has contrived so much to put Chennai into the play-offs, the holders were in no mood to squander that fortune’s pat in the Eliminator against Mumbai Indians at Bangalore.
The Harbhajan Singh-led side had emerged comfortable winners over Chennai in both home and away matches this season, but they could not come up with that decisive performance when it mattered most. Dhoni and Bravo propelled Super Kings to a formidable total at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, and then dished out a clinical effort with the ball to march into the Qualifier 2, a hurdle they successfully leaped over.
Now, is it Knight Riders’ turn to feel the Chennai heat?