Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Super Kings in the final

The Chennai Super Kings booked a semi-final showdown with the Kings XI Punjab after they won their final round-robin match against the Deccan Chargers by seven wickets.

The Super Kings needed victory to assure their place and were made to sweat on victory, finally reeling in the home side's 147 for eight when Suresh Raina clubbed a straight six from the second ball of the final over.

They will now travel to the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday for the opportunity to play in the first ever Indian Premier League final.

Defeat for the Chargers completed a frustrating campaign when they failed to win at home and managed just two wins in 14 games to finish two wins adrift at the foot of the table.

The home side had laboured to their total of 147 for eight with local duo Venugopal Rao (46) and Dwaraka Ravi Teja (40) leading another Chargers recovery mission after the top-order again failed to deliver.

Openers Adam Gilchrist (five) and Herschelle Gibbs (eight) fell cheaply, before Scott Styris' run-a-ball innings of 20 was ended when he slogged across the line and was bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan.

However, in front of their home crowd, Venugopal Rao and Ravi Teja combined for a 76-run stand from 50 balls to help set a competitive total.

Parthiv Patel (20) and Stephen Fleming (14) got the Super Kings off to a quick start and when captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (37) was caught at long-off by Gibbs from the bowling of Pragyan Ojha, the visitors needed a manageable 33 from 28 balls.

Some tight bowling from Styris loosened the Super Kings' grip on the game, but Raina remained as a steady presence.

The India left-hander found the boundary regularly enough to keep his side in control of the game before supplying the killer blow in the final over, smashing a straight six off Paidikalva Vijaykumar.

The shot also brought up his half-century, from 43 balls.

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