Super Chennai storm into semis

Skipper MS Dhonis unbeaten 54 off 29 balls plays the pivotal role in victory

Super Chennai storm into semis

Chennai Super Kings players celebrate their victory during the IPL T20 match against Kings XI Punjab in Dharamshala on Sunday. PTI

Chasing a huge 193 for a win, Dhoni cracked a 29-ball 54 with a late flurry of fours and sixes to take his side to victory with two balls to spare in a high-scoring thriller at the HPCA stadium.

Needing 16 from the last over, the Chennai captain hit a hapless Irfan Pathan for 18 with two sixes and a four to take his side’s score to 195 for four in 19.4 overs.

Dhoni, who ended the match in style with a six, was dropped in the previous over by Pathan on 32 off Juan Theron.

Dhoni struck five fours and two sixes, adding 47 in 18 balls with Albie Morkel for the fifth wicket. S Badrinath (53, 36b) and Suresh Raina (46, 27b) were the other main contributors for Chennai.

Earlier, Punjab piled up 192 for three after being put in, thanks to a breezy 99-run unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership between Shaun Marsh (88) and Pathan (44). The Super Kings suffered two early losses when off-spinner Ramesh Powar removed Murali Vijay (13) and his opening partner Matthew Hayden (5) cheaply.

Raina then teamed up with Badrinath when the Super Kings were struggling at 27 for two after the fourth over and the duo put on 62 before the former was removed by Theron in the 10th over. Raina cracked five fours and three sixes. Badrinath, who hit seven fours and two sixes, and Dhoni tried to accelerate the run-rate and added 59 runs for the fourth wicket.

When the team was cruising towards the target, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla struck in the 17th over by scalping Badrinath. But after that, Dhoni and Morkel took Chennai home with some batting pyrotechnics.

Earlier Marsh, who struck eight fours and five sixes in his 57-ball innings, and Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene (21 off eight) started the Punjab innings on an attacking note but a couple of quick dismissals in the middle overs pulled their soaring run-rate down.

But Pathan, who cracked four fours and a six during his 27-ball innings, paired up with Marsh to bring the Punjab team closer to 200-run mark. Jayawardene gave Punjab a flying start with two successive sixes in the first over off paceman Sudeep Tyagi. But the opening partnership, which yielded 34 runs off 17 balls, came to an end in the third over when Jayawardene’s ambitious shot off Morkel found Tyagi at mid-off.

Sangakkara and Marsh added 56 for the second wicket.

SCORE BOARD

KINGS XI PUNJAB: Mahela Jayawardene c Tyagi b Morkel 21, Shaun Marsh (not out) 88, Kumar Sangakkara b Ashwin 33, Yuvraj Singh lbw Raina 1, Irfan Pathan (not out) 44. Extras (LB-2, W-3) 5. Total (for 3 wkts, 20 overs) 192.

Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-90, 3-93.

Bowling: Sudeep Tyagi 2-0-24-0, Doug Bollinger 4-0-39-0, Albie Morkel 4-0-48-1, R Ashwin 4-0-20-1, Suresh Raina 4-0-33-1, Justin Kemp 1-0-12-0, Shadab Jakati 1-0-14-0.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: Murali Vijay st Sangakkara b Powar 13, Matthew Hayden c Kumar Sangakkara b Powar 5, Suresh Raina c Karan Goel b Juan Theron 46, S Badrinath st Kumar Sangakkara b Chawla 53, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (not out) 54, Albie Morkel (not out) 14. Extras (LB-5, W-4, NB-1) 10. Total (for 4 wkts, 19.4 overs) 195.

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-27, 3-89, 4-148.

Bowling: Ramesh Powar 4-0-28-2, Irfan Pathan 3.4-0-44-0, VRV Singh 3-0-40-0, Piyush Chawla 4-0-28-1, Juan Theron 4-0-43-1, Yuvraj Singh 1-0-7-0.

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