It's Chennai-Mumbai clash in the final

It's Chennai-Mumbai clash in the final

Dhonis men thump Gilchrists team in semis

It's Chennai-Mumbai clash in the final

Take that: Chennai Super Kings skipper M S Dhoni and team mate Bollinger celebrate the wicket of Deccan Chargers' Suman during their IPL T20 second semi final match at D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Thursday. PTI

In a low-scoring match that struggled to capture the imagination of a smallish gathering, the beaten finalists in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League sussed up the conditions brilliantly and unleashed their collective might to run away comprehensive winners by 38 runs, thus allowing Mahendra Singh Dhoni to pit his captaincy skills against his childhood hero Sachin Tendulkar in Sunday’s final against the Mumbai Indians. The undisputed star of the night was Australian left-arm quick Doug Bollinger. Having seen his batsmen post a challenging 142 for seven on a surface anything but conducive for stroke-making, Bollinger took it upon himself to spearhead the Super Kings’ charge.

Fast and furious, he finished with exceptional figures of four for 13, doing the damage upfront with the wickets of Adam Gilchrist and T Suman and walking away with the man of the match award, thereby playing the lead role in shooting out the Chargers for an embarrassing 104.

Off-spinner R Ashwin handled new-ball duties with aplomb yet again and Muttiah Muralitharan was probing; additionally, in direct contrast to their opponents, the Super Kings caught everything that came their way with Suresh Raina the stand-out performer, throwing himself around with a desperation sorely conspicuous earlier in the evening when the Chargers were in the park.

That the Super Kings eventually managed 142 was because of the industry and enterprise of Dhoni and S Badrinath, and the final flourish provided by Aniruddha Srikkanth, brought in specifically for this knockout game. It was only after the powerful right-hander, son of Krishnamachari Srikkanth, hit a few big shots that the Super Kings felt they had enough runs on the board.

Matthew Hayden’s indifferent form and a rare failure for Raina necessitated Dhoni and Badrinath to be circumspect against the disciplined Chargers’ bowling, badly let down by fielding mistakes for which they were forced to pay a heavy price.