Super Kings land in final

Hussey, Raina dazzle as former champs outclass Mumbai Indians by 48 runs

Super Kings land in final

Chennai Super Kings might have come a cropper against Mumbai Indians in the league stages but the two-time champions showed their superiority by turning a high-profile encounter into a one-sided operation. Chennai’s 48-run victory on Tuesday night powered them to the Indian Premier League final, their fifth overall in the event.

Their march to the final was fashioned by Michael Hussey (86 n.o., 58b, 10x4, 2x6) and Suresh Raina (82, 42b, 5x4, 5x6) who exemplified Super King’s big-match temperament with a superlative domination of Mumbai bowling. Their unbeaten 140-run second wicket partnership propelled them to 192/1 in 20 overs.

Up against a towering target, Mumbai, in the absence of injured Sachin Tendulkar, were in the chase till the ninth over with Dwayne Smith going berserk, smashing 68 off 28 balls. His 75-run partnership with Dinesh Karthik pressed the panic button for the Super Kings but it didn’t last long. Smith perished to a soft dismissal off Ravindra Jadeja (3-31).

The pair of Karthik and Rohit Sharma held the best promise for Mumbai but Jadeja struck for the second time in two overs. Karthik, choosing to sweep, was hit on the pads to be out leg before. Rohit followed him in the next over.

Kieron Pollard, with a couple of mighty heaves, kept the interest alive but departed soon with a mistimed flick that ended in a low catch well-taken by Hussey.

It was then a matter time before the Mumbai batting wilted and they eventually folded up for 144.

It was a favourable toss to win by Super Kings and the opportunity was fully exploited by Hussey and Raina. With Kotla laying out a good batting strip, Hussey and Murali Vijay rustled up quick opening runs with none of the Mumbai bowlers able to make an impact.

Harbhajan Singh, however, did manage to slow things down. Skipper Rohit Sharma desperately shuffled the bowling around, introducing five bowlers in seven overs but Hussey, in particular, was in sublime touch and unstoppable.

It was not that Mumbai attack didn’t try to put in the breaks, none of their overs were significantly expensive, barring the last that went for 19 runs. But runs came in a steady stream engineered by Hussey.

His strokeplay ranged from soft flicks to late cuts to reverse sweeps. Even his solitary hit over the fence, glanced to fine leg in the last over off Malinga, was effortless. He had opened the innings with a boundary off fellow Australian Mitchell Johnson and only grew in strength.

The first six overs produced 47 runs with only Harbhajan making an impression. Pollard, introduced in the seventh over, got the only wicket of the Super Kings innings when Vijay lifted him for an easy catch to Dwayne Smith at midwicket.

In walked Suresh Raina, defiant and in-form. If Hussey was scorching the ground with his penetrative drives, Raina was quick to take the aerial route, clobbering Harbhajan for the first six of the innings in the 11th over.

With wickets in hand, the two opened their arms with Raina delighting a packed gathering with some spectacular heaves. Their onslaught put pressure on Mumbai, that reflected in a few slips with Rohit cutting a lonely figure in the middle.

Hussey and Raina attacked with flair, brilliantly accelerating towards the end that fetched 123 runs in last 10 overs.

Their partnership took Super Kings to familiar territory and once again made them the front-runners in title quest.

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