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After mauling Mumbai on Wednesday, the Chennai Super Kings produced another flawless display tonight to demolish the Delhi Daredevils by a whooping 86 runs to advance to their fourth IPL Final. Batting first, the Super Kings stacked up a humongous 222-5 on the back of a memorable century from Murali Vijay. The Chennai opener, high on power and low on mercy, came down like a house on fire and carted the Delhi bowlers all around the park. Dwayne Bravo (33*) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) provided the finishing touches to the innings with typicalÂ·flamboyance. It was one way traffic all the way as Delhi slumped to anÂ·embarrassing 136 all out in their chase. Mahela Jaywardene's attractive 55 was the lone silver lining in an otherwiseÂ·forgettable night for the Daredevils. Whilst Ravi Ashwin was the bowling hero of the day with figures of 3-23, the other bowlers chipped in with vital contributions. Eventually, Delhi paid the ultimate penalty for benching Morne Morkel and handing Sunny Gupta his IPL debut in a virtual semi-final clash. Clearly, the Daredevils did not learn from the selection errors theyÂ·committed in their previous assignment.
Inspired by their emphatic victory over the Mumbai Indians, the Chennai Super Kings locked horns with the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL Final Qualifier amidst a jam packed crowd at the M.A.Chidambaram stadium on Friday night. The Daredevils, who lost out on direct passage to the final in their first attempt, were keen to set things right and get the job done. With the stakes sky-high and both teams studded with big-ticket players, this virtual semi-final promised to be a classic contest. The winner of this encounter would earn the right to face KKR in the much anticipated grand finale at the same venue on 'Super Sunday'.
The flip of the coin went Delhi's way and Virender Sehwag chose to bowl first on a typical Chepauk pitch. While Chennai retained their winning combination, the Daredevils rang in two changes. Andre Russell and rookie Tamil Nadu spinner Sunny Gupta came in for Morne Morkel and the injured Irfan Pathan. It appeared to be a glaring move to neglect the purple cap holder Morne Morkel and the impressive Shahbaaz Nadeem, considering the fact that this was essentially Delhi's first knock-out fixture of the tournament.
There were surprises galore as Sunny Gupta, playing his first match, was thrown in at the deep end by Viru, who gave the spinner the new ball with Umesh Yadav. Unfortunately for Delhi, Sehwag's tactic backfired immediately as the Super Kings imposed themselves on the Daredevils with a flurry of boundaries. Murali Vijay, who opened his account via a lofted shot over mid-off for four, placed the ball expertly, suggesting that he was very much at 'home'. Vijay was positive right from the word go and made utmost use of the scoring opportunities. His wristy flicks and crunching cover drives left the the boisterous spectators screaming for more. At the other end, Mike Hussey was rock solid as ever. Another salient feature of the CSK opening association was the urgency in between the wickets. CSK raced to 52-0 in 6 overs.
Gupta, unable to conquer his stage-fright proved to be bread and butter for Hussey and Vijay. However, against the run of play, Varun Aaron struck in the 9th over to have the southpaw caught behind for 20. In the same over, Vijay signaled his half-century in style with a whack over extra-cover. The landmark came off just 28 deliveries.
The rampaging Vijay gave Viru a taste of his own medicine by biffing 21 runs off the Delhi commander's first over.Â·Vijay, embodying his captain's power, continued to deal in fours and sixes. Soon after, Suresh Raina also joined the party with some equally attractive shots. The Uttar Pradesh batsman announced his name into the sixes column with his trademark loft over the bowler's head. The next ball though, Raina fell caught and bowled to Pawan Negi for 27.
The new batsman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni needed no warm up balls and got into the act instantly with his favorite turbo-charged helicopter whiplash over long on. The roars at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium grew louder and louder with every passing over. Chennai churned out 10 run overs with consummate ease. Sitting pretty at 167-2 in 16 overs, CSK were on course towards a 200 plus total.
Moments later, Vijay marched majestically to a richly deserved ton. He celebrated the milestone wildly with a punch in the air and acknowledged theÂ·tumultuous cheers from his home fans. In an attempt to up the ante further, Dhoni (23) and Albie Morkel (0) perished in quick succession. But, that did not prevent the men in yellow from breaching the 200 mark.
Dwayne Bravo (33*) brought to the table his swashbuckling Caribbean flourish and spanked 2 fours and 2 biggies in the penultimate over off Aaron with the pick of them being his 'one handed banana peel slash' over third man. The dashing duo ransacked 39 runs in under 3 overs before the opening batsman was run-out off the last ball for an exceptional 113 from just 58 balls.
Delhi's bizarre strategies showed no signs of abating as Mahela Jayawardene (and not Sehwag) walked out to begin Delhi's chase with David Warner.Â·Ben Hilfenhaus, Chennai's spearhead got rid of fellow Aussie Warner for a slow 3 in the 3rd over. Big Ben extracted zip and bounce to test the Delhi batsmen. The following over, Morkel scalped the big fish, Viru (1) with Hussey completing a spectacular running catch. A lifter doing the trick for the Super Kings. Meanwhile, Mahela Jayawardene settled down nicely aided by some exquisite wristy shots. The Lankan lion lifted the sagging spirits in the DD camp by depositing Morkel into the stands. At 46-2 in 6 overs, Delhi were hoping for a massive partnership from Mahela and Ross Taylor.
The Kiwi batsman greeted Jakati into the attack with an extraordinary hockey swipe over mid-wicket. A ball later, he produced an exact replica of the shot. Much to Delhi's chagrin, Bravo dismissed Taylor for a 14 ball 24 in the 9th over. Chennai's high on octane fielding did not help Delhi's cause either. Andre Russell joined hands with the veteran with a herculeanÂ·task ahead of them.
Russell (17) failed to fire and succumbed to the guile of Ashwin. Bravo, after grasping the Jamaican's top edge burst into his groovy dance moves. Naman Ojha (7) too did not last long with Jakati causing him to hole out in the deep.Â·Soon after, the lanky offie's carrom ball delivered the death knell for DD by consuming Mahela for a gritty 55. Wickets tumbled as the Delhi innings fizzed to a close. The result by now looked a foregone conclusion.
Delhi could not even last the allocated 20 overs and folded up for a shameful 136 all out.
What makes the Super Kings special is their coveted ability to perform in the most important games. The mighty Super Kings will take on Gautam Gambhir's shining Knights in the grand finale on Sunday right here at Chepauk in what is expected to be another sea of yellow. With nothing to separate the two teams, a rollicking game worthy of a final awaits the cricketing fraternity.
CSK: M Hussey, M Vijay, S Raina, MS Dhoni(c/wk), S Badrinath, R Jadeja, D Bravo, A Morkel, R Ashwin, S Jakati, B Hilfenhaus
DD: V Sehwag(c), D Warner, N Ojha(wk), V Rao, M Jayawardene, R Taylor, A Russell, P Negi, U Yadav, V Aaron, S Gupta
CSK: 222-5 (20 overs, 11.10 rpo)
M Vijay 113(58) V Aaron 2-63
S Raina 27(17) U Yadav 1-27
DD: 136 all out (16.4 overs, 8.16 rpo)
M Jayawardene 55(38) R Ashwin 3-24
R Taylor 24(14) S Jakati 2-40
CSK won by 86 runs
File Photograph Copyright: Michael Henn
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