A whirlwind cameo by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni took Chennai Super Kings a step closer to the Indian Premier League-V final while knocking out Harbhajan Singh’s men from the competition here tonight. Chennai defeated Mumbai Indians by 38 runs in the Eliminator to book a face-off against Delhi Daredevils in the second Qualifier on Friday.
Dhoni’s 20-ball 51 down the order catapulted the reigning champions to a formidable 187 for 5 after MI skipper Harbhajan Singh won the toss and elected to bowl.
In pursuit, MI were restricted to 149-9 in 20 overs. Only opener Dwayne Smith (38) threatened to make a fist of the mammoth target. Though Smith and Sachin Tendulkar (11) got MI off to a flier, the latter’s run-out in the fifth over proved to be the turning point.
For CSK, Albie Morkel (2-31) and Dwayne Bravo (2-10) claimed two wickets apiece. Shadab Jakati (1-25) played a crucial role taking the new ball.
Earlier, CSK were jolted in the second over as seamer Dhawal Kulkarni dismissed Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina off his first two balls. At 1-2, CSK were reeling. S Badrinath and Michael Hussey then shared a 94-run stand to help CSK resurrect the innings.
Dhoni smashed an unbeaten 51 off 20 balls and shared an unfinished 73-run stand off 29 balls for the sixth wicket with Dwayne Bravo (33 off 14) to take Chennai close to the 200-mark at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here.
The foundation for Dhoni’s blitz was set up by S Badrinath (47) and Michael Hussey (49), who shared a 94-run stand to help Chennai recover from a disastrous start when they were 1-2 in 1.2 overs, courtesy a double strike by Dhawal Kulkarni (3/46).
Invited to bat, Chennai were 47 after nine overs but the defending champions amassed 140 runs off the last 11 overs to set Mumbai a stiff target.
Electing to bowl, skipper Harbhajan Singh led from the front giving away just one run in his first two overs but it was Kulkarni who provided the early breakthrough, removing Murali Vijay (1) and Suresh Raina (0) in his first two balls. First, he had Vijay (1) caught by Rohit Sharma in the first slip and then had Raina edging onto his middle stump for a golden duck.
Badrinath and Hussey then fell in quick succession, but Dhoni walked out as a man on a mission. He dispatched his first ball for four. Chennai lost Ravindra Jadeja in the 16th but that didn’t deter Dhoni as he dispatched the next three balls for fours.
It was Dhoni all along as the MI bowlers bore the brunt of his fury. Bravo too got into the act with a few dazzling strokes, including a one-legged thwart. The duo shared an unfinished 73-run stand off 29 balls as MI’s bowlers were taken apart.
Even Malinga wasn’t spared as Dhoni hit him for six with the trademark helicopter shot in the 19th over. That over went for 18 as Chennai. Kulkarni’s brilliant figures (3-46) went pear-shaped as he was taken apart in the 19th.
In a nutshell, CSK scored 47 off the first nine overs, and an amazing 140 runs in the last 11.
Chennai Super Kings:
Vijay c Sharma b Kulkarni 1, Hussey c Kulkarni b Franklin 49, Raina b Kulkarni 0, Badrinath c Sharma b Pollard 47, Dhoni no 51, Jadeja c Sharma b Kulkarni 1, Bravo no 33
Extras: (lb 2, w 3) 5 Total: (for 5 wkts in 20 overs) 187
Fall: 1-1, 2-1, 3-95, 4-106, 5-114
Bowling: Harbhajan 3-1-20-0, Kulkarni 4-0-46-3, RP Singh 4-0-34-0, Malinga 4-0-41-0, Pollard 3-0-26-1, Smith 1-0-6-01, Franklin 1-0-12-1.
Mumbai Indians (Target 188):
Tendulkar run out (Jadeja/Jakati) 11, Smith c Jadeja b Jakati 38, Sharma c Dhoni b Morkel 14, Karthik c Dhoni b Morkel 6, Franklin c Dhoni b Bravo 13, Rayudu c Vijay b Ashwin 11, Pollard c Raina b Bravo 16, Harbhajan c Raina b Hilfenhaus 1, Malinga b Jadeja 17, Kulkarni no 10, RP Singh no 1.
Extras: (lb 5, w 5, nb 1) 11. Total: (for 9 wkts in 20 overs) 149.
Fall: 1-47, 2-55, 3-68, 4-77, 5-96, 6-102, 7-103, 8-129, 9-148.
Bowling: Jakati 4-0-25-1, Hilfenhaus 4-0-45-1, Ashwin 3-0-18-1, Jadeja 1.6-0-15-1, Morkel 4-0-31-2, D Bravo 3-0-10-2