CL T20: Chennai beat Warriors; both enter semifinal

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Port Elizabeth: Chennai went on to beat the Warriors by 10 runs on Wednesday and set up a semifinal clash with Bangalore in the Champions League. The spinners played an instrumental role in defending a paltry 136 by claiming six of the eight wickets to fall.
Warriors’ chase never gained momentum, more so against the spinners than the faster men. The South African club never looked in against R Ashwin who opened the bowling with Doug Bollinger. And later spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, Shadab Jakati and part-timer Suresh Raina joined Ashwin to have Warriors in knots.

They kept losing way with wickets at regular intervals. Ashwell Prince (9) fell to a superb one-handed diving catch from fellow South-African Justin Kemp at the slips. It started the slide with the score at 24, which soon became 63/3 once Davy Jacobs (32) and Colin Ingram (17) fell to Shadab Jakati and Suresh Raina respectively.
It was clear that Warriors had one eye on 109, a score which would ensure a semifinal outing for them. But in doing that, they almost conceded the match to Chennai.
Once Warriors had 109 on board, Boucher did try to press home for a win, which in the end proved a little too late on a spinning track.
With 15 needed off the 20th over, bowled by Murali, the Warriors had their backs against the wall facing the wily Sri Lankan legend.
All-rounder Johan Botha looked at sea against the turning ball and in the end Warriors were found 10 runs short of the target.
Earlier in the evening, Justin Kreusch’s 3/19 raised serious question marks over Chennai registering a win and qualifying for the semifinals in the must-win encounter against tournament favourites Warriors.
Chennai openers backed skipper MS Dhoni’s decision to bat first with an opening stand that went from steady to authoritative as Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay registered fifty of the partnership.
But the hero of Warriors’ bowling lineup, Justin Kreusch, struck in the nick of time by removing Vijay (35 off 27). It triggered a mini collapse for Chennai who lost 4 wickets for 36 runs after being 63 for no loss.
Suresh Raina (6) and S Badrinath (2) too fell prey to Kreusch’s dream spell of 4-0-19-3. But the scorecard wore a worried look when Johan Botha got rid of top-scorer Hussey (50) soon after.
From there on, Warriors tightened their grip on the proceedings, stifling Dhoni and Anirudh Srikkanth for runs that came in ones and rare twos.
Just when it seemed the Warriors were executing their death-bowling plans to perfection, arrived a 17-run penultimate over that gave Chennai hope to finish with a flourish but it wasn’t to be.
Rusty Theron removed Srikkanth (7) in the last over, followed by Justin Kemp’s one-ball stay at the wicket that ended with him sacrificing his wicket to get Dhoni on strike.
The desperation didn’t work for Dhoni and Chennai as Theron finished with a five-run last over that restricted Chennai to a paltry total of 136/6.
Chennai now face Bangalore and Warriors take on the Redbacks in the semifinals.

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This post was submitted by somya harsh.

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