Chennai Super Kings overcame its batting woes to beat Kings XI Punjab by six wickets and make the semifinals of the DLF IPL-III.
Chennai had no choice but to win at the HPCA Stadium here on Sunday. Its batsmen rose to the occasion to get past the challenging Kings XI aggregate of 192 runs with two balls to spare.
The team has now 14 points after completing its round-robin engagements.
Errant bowling by Sudeep Tyagi and Albie Morkel helped Kings XI batsmen give their team a flying start after Chennai captain M.S. Dhoni put the host in.
Mahela Jayawardene's eight-ball 21, which included two sixes off Tyagi's first over, set the tone and skipper Kumar Sangakkara carried on from where his compatriot had left.
The early onslaught forced Dhoni to bring on off-spinner R. Ashwin after the third over. Ashwin, along with part-time off-spinner Suresh Raina, managed to contain the lefty duo of Sangakkara and Shaun Marsh to some extent in the middle overs,
Ashwin, enjoying a good run in this edition, mostly bowled wicket to wicket and was rewarded with the prized scalp of Sangakkara (33), who was bowled while trying a wild sweep. Sangakkara had put on 56 runs with Marsh (88 not out) for the second wicket.
Marsh's progress was more interesting — from being watchful to be attacking. His lusty hits, earning eight fours and five sixes, not only entertained the ‘home' fans but boosted his side to a healthy total.
Irfan Pathan's late charge cannot be undermined. With a 27-ball 44, the all-rounder forged an unbeaten 99-run stand with Marsh in less than eight overs.
Sangakkara's move to open the bowling with Ramesh Powar proved beneficial. The stocky off-spinner, known for his accuracy, did not allow free flow of runs and removed the Chennai openers early.
However, Suresh Raina (46, 27b, 5x4, 3x6) was unstoppable. In an exemplary show of aggressive batting, the left-hander played some outstanding shots and backed those with tremendous improvisation.
Raina's well-timed hit off V.R.V. Singh over fine-leg had all the ingredients to leave a long-lasting impression on the local fans.
Raina, who departed as he drove Juan Theron straight to Karan Goel at sweeper-cover, added 62 runs for the third wicket with S. Badrinath.
An inspired Badrinath (53, 36b, 7x4, 2x6) mostly banked on his footwork and innovation.
Despite going through some stern tests by Piyush Chawla, the Tamil Nadu batsman did not lose his composure and found the gaps regularly.
Dhoni (54), who regained his touch, lighted up the evening with his fire-power.
He smashed a boundary and two back-to-back sixes in the last over to see Chennai home. The CSK skipper was adjudged man-of-the-match.
Kings XI Punjab: M. Jayawardene c Tyagi b Morkel 21 (8b, 2x4, 2x6), S. Marsh (not out) 88 (57b, 8x4, 5x6), K. Sangakkara b Ashwin 33 (24b, 5x4), Yuvraj lbw b Raina 1 (4b), I. Pathan (not out) 44 (27b, 3x4, 2x6); Extras (lb-2, wd-3) 5; Total (for three wkts. in 20 overs): 192.
Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-90, 3-93.
Chennai Super Kings bowling: Tyagi 2-0-24-0, Bollinger 4-0-39-0, Morkel 4-0-48-1, Ashwin 4-0-20-1, Raina 4-0-33-1, Kemp 1-0-12-0, Jakati 1-0-14-0.
Chennai Super Kings: M. Vijay st. Sangakkara b Powar 13 (11b, 2x4), M. Hayden c Sangakkara b Powar 5 (8b, 1x4), S. Raina c Goel b Theron 46 (27b, 5x4, 3x6), S. Badrinath st. Sangakkara b Chawla 53 (36b, 7x4, 2x6), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 54 (29b, 5x4, 2x6), A. Morkel (not out) 14 (8b, 2x4); Extras (lb-5, nb-1, wd-4) 10; Total (for four wkts. in 19.4 overs): 195
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-27, 3-89, 4-148
Kings XI Punjab bowling: Powar 4-0-28-2, Pathan 3.4-0-44-0, V.R.V. Singh 3-0-40-0, Chawla 4-0-28-1, Theron 4-0-43-1, Yuvraj 1-0-7-0.