Raina guides Chennai Super Kings to seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians

Suresh Raina showed the way for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to cross the eliminator hurdle, defeating Mumbai Indians by seven wickets and setting up a qualifier clash with Kings XI Punjab in IPL-7.

Set a target of 174, CSK appeared to be in some bother when Harbhajan Singh removed openers Dwayne Smith and Faf du Plessis.

Measured approach

But on a Brabourne pitch that was near-perfect for strokeplay, Raina absorbed the pressure for a while before taking his team past the finishing line.

Australian David Hussey and Raina put on a stirring, match-winning partnership of 89 off 56 balls. Raina struck the winning shot off seamer Jasprit Bumrah to the mid-wicket fence. CSK will now face KXIP at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.

Earlier Harbhajan Singh’s hefty straight hit off seamer Mohit Sharma for an on-demand six from a boisterous crowd was a fitting finish to a vigorous MI endeavour that looked for optimum yield off deliveries that deserved meaty blows.

Fruitful combination

The feisty sardar’s shot took the home team to 173 after the left-right opening pair of Michael Hussey and Lendl Simmons had got the better of the rival bowling, displaying a blend of caution and aggression.

Leading up to the eliminator match MI had largely benefitted from the Hussey-Simmons combination that produced runs consistently.

The only century maker in this year’s league, the 29-year-old from Port of Spain, Simmons was far from conventional in the execution of shots, but was nonetheless effective against Ashish Nehra, Ishwar Pandey and Sharma.

His pre-determined, bold methods fetched him five 4s and four 6s on way to his fourth half-century in eight league matches this season. Hussey brought his experience to the fore as the opening pair raised 76 off 58 balls and provided foundation and hope for the home team after being put in.

New Zealander Corey Anderson appeared to be sighting the ball well and carrying on from where he had left off against Rajasthan Royals. He opened his account with an on-side six off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and soon directed a ball from Raina over square-leg, but Ravichandran Ashwin, in keeping with his restrictive bowling right through the league, scalped the Kiwi left-hander with Pandey converting a catch in the deep.

Anderson’s departure at 99 was a mishap the home team did not recover fully from. Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard promised much, but these two and the lower-order left the scene in a procession, falling to Sharma and Nehra.

Brendon McCullum, David Hussey, du Plessis and Sharma played their part latching on to catches.

Scoreboard

Mumbai Indians: Lendl Simmons c Raina b Jadeja 67 (44b, 5x4, 4x6), Michael Hussey b Jadeja 39 (33b, 4x4, 1x6), Corey Anderson c Pandey b Ashwin 20 (10b, 1x4, 2x6), Rohit Sharma c McCullum b Mohit Sharma 20 (16b, 3x4), Kieron Pollard c Mohit b Nehra 14 (8b, 1x4, 1x6), Ambati Rayudu c David Hussey b Mohit 2 (3b), Aditya Tare c du Plessis b Nehra 0 (1b), Harbhajan Singh not out 7 (2b, 1x6), Praveen Kumar b Mohit 1 (2b), Pragyan Ojha not out 1 (1b); Extras (lb-2): 2; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 173.

Fall of wickets: 1-76 (Michael Hussey), 2-99 (Anderson), 3-143 (Simmons), 4-150 (Rohit), 5-163 (Pollard), 6-164 (Tare), 7-164 (Rayudu), 8-166 (Praveen Kumar)

Chennai Super Kings bowling: Ashish Nehra 4-0-34-2, Ishwar Pandey 3-0-25-0, Mohit Sharma 4-0-42-3, R. Ashwin 4-0-26-1, Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-31-2 , Suresh Raina 1-0-13-0.

Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Smith c Pollard b Harbhajan 24 (20b, 4x4), Faf du Plessis c Dunk (sub) b Harbhajan 35 (20b, 5x4, 1x6), Suresh Raina (not out ) 54 (33b, 4x4, 2x6), Brendon McCullum St Tare b Ojha 14 (11b, 2x6), David Hussey (not out) 40 (29b, 2x4, 3x6); Extras (lb-3, w-5, nb-1): 9; Total (for three wkts. in 18.4 overs) 176.

Fall of wickets: 1-60 (Smith), 2-64 (du Plessis), 3-87 (B. McCullum).

Mumbai Indians bowling: Praveen Kumar 4-0-27-0, Corey Anderson 3-0-35-0, Jaspreet Bumrah 3.4-0-40-0, Harbhajan Singh 4-0-27-2, Pragyan Ojha 3-0-34-1, Kieron Pollard 1-0-10-0.

Man-of-the-match: Suresh Raina.

CSK won by seven wickets with eight balls to spare