There was no stopping Chennai Super Kings. The former champion rolled into the semifinals of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 semifinals with an authoritative eight-wicket victory over Brisbane Heat in a group ‘B’ league match at the JSCA Stadium here on Saturday.
Having lost all its matches played so far, Heat is out of the competition though it has a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday.
Chasing Heat’s 137 for seven, CSK finished it off losing only two wickets and with over four overs remaining. Man of the Match Michael Hussey remained unbeaten on 57 and skipper M.S. Dhoni hit the winning runs — a six — to be undefeated on 13.
An asking rate of 6.9 per over was never a problem for CSK. Murali Vijay, who faced only three balls in his previous two innings, looked determined to do well and began cautiously with Michael Hussey.
The left-hander was solidity personified as Vijay slowly but steadily found his groove before opening up.
The two brought up 50 for the opening wicket off 41 balls. During this period of ascendancy, Vijay hit two consecutive sixes off off-spinner Nathan Hauritz’s first over (team’s seventh) to break free of the shackles.
Thereafter runs begun to flow at a brisk pace before Vijay failed to keep a hook shot down and was taken brilliantly by Joe Burns for a well made 42 off 27 balls with five fours and two sixes.
The 75-run partnership provided CSK with a solid launching pad and the momentum to carry on. The in form Suresh Raina and Hussey were too good to be kept quiet. Raina helped himself to a four and two sixes as the two brought up the team’s 100 in 12.1 overs.
Dan Christian finally had Raina leg before for 23.
Dhoni then joined Hussey and soon with four runs needed for a win, Dhoni hit a straight six to mark the end of the unequal contest.
Earlier after Dhoni invited James Hopes to bat first, debutant opener Dominic Michael lasted only two balls before he drove Mohit Sharma to S. Badrinath who dived forward to pick up the low catch.
Hopes began promisingly with a couple of fours early on and in the company of Chris Lynn punched two more before miscuing a lofted drive off Albie Morkel.
By the end of the fifth over Heat reached 46 for two when Dhoni introduced R. Ashwin into the attack. Ravindra Jadeja, woefully out of form with both bat and ball, came on from the other end to bowl the seventh over and immediately tasted success when he had Christian taken by Hussey at long on.
A faster one sent back Joe Burns, the resultant edge accepted by Suresh Raina at slips.
Heat at four down for 55 was in deep trouble. Both Ashwin and Jadeja exploited the tentative nature of the batsmen and spun a web around the bat. Runs completely dried up.
Heat batsmen failed to hit a single four or six from over No. 7 to 17 by which time six wickets had fallen for 87 runs.
It was during the seventh wicket association between Ben Cutting and wicketkeeper Chris Hartley, that the former hit the first of his five sixes of the day.
Cutting hoisted Dwayne Bravo for two sixes in that over to take his team’s total past 100 in 17.5 overs.
The two cut loose as Jason Holder and Mohit Sharma were taken to the cleaners in the final two overs. The unbroken seventh wicket partnership produced 71 runs in7.3 overs to lend respectability to Heat’s total.
Brisbane Heat: James Hopes c Holder b Morkel 20 (14b, 4x4), Dominic Michael c Badrinath b Sharma 0 (2b), Chris Lynn c Jadeja b Ashwin 29 (25b, 4x4, 1x6), Dan Christian c Hussey b Jadeja 3 (7b), Joe Burns c Raina b Jadeja 0 (1b), Chris Hartley c Holder b Sharma 35 (32b, 3x4), Chris Sabburg b Raina 2 (14b), Ben Cutting (not out) 42 (25b, 5x6); Extras (lb-4, w-2): 6; Total (for six in 20 overs): 137.
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Michael), 2-29 (Hopes), 3-54 (Christian), 4-55 (Burns), 5-61 (Lynn), 6- 66 (Sabburg), 7-137 (Hartley).
Chennai Super Kings bowling: Mohit Sharma 3-0-35-2, Albie Morkel 2-0-15-1, Jason Holder 2-0-26-0, R. Ashwin 4-1-10-1, R. Jadeja 4-0-18-2, Suresh Raina 3-0-9-1, Dwayne Bravo 2-0-20-0.
Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey (not out) 57 (48b, 7x4), Murali Vijay c Burns b Cutting 42 (27b, 5x4, 2x6), Suresh Raina lbw b Christian 23 (15b, 1x4, 2x6), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 13 (5b, 1x4, 1x6); Extras (lb-2, w-3): 5; Total (for two in 15.5 overs): 140.
Fall of wickets: 1-75 (Vijay), 2-116 (Raina).
Brisbane Heat bowling: James Hopes 1-0-7-0, Mathew Gale 2-0-22-0, Cameron Gannon 3-0-19-0,Dan Christian 3-0-16-1, Nathan Hauritz 3-0-36-0, Ben Cutting 3.5-0-38-1.