Little opener David Warner's 69-ball 135 not out floored defending champions Chennai Super Kings whilepowering the New South Wales into the semi-finals of the Champions League T20 tournament here yesterday.
Warner's amazing innings that contained eight sixes and 11 boundaries, helped the 2009 champions Blues to 201 for two.
Big bash: David Warner of New South Wales celebrates his century during the Champions League T20 match against Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Pic/AFP
The Super Kings made a spirited bid, but the pressure of having to win by a big margin told on the side that eventually capitulated to 155 all out with left-arm spinner Stephen O'Keefe taking three for 28.
The Blues thus topped Group A with six points and along with Mumbai Indians (5) qualified for the semi-finals leaving the Trinidad and Tobago, who earlier beat Nashua Cape Cobras by two wickets, heart-broken and on four points.
The South Africans finished with three points and the Super Kings ended at the bottom with two. It was undoubtedly a Warner show on Tuesday night on a pitch on which batting was a task until the "pocket dynamo" capitalised on a life when on 40 and launched into a save attack that spared no bowler. Clearly, Warner was in the zone as he played shots at will, notably the switch hits.
Fast bowler Doug Bollinger, who had opted for Super Kings rather than his home team Blues, was taken to the cleaners. He conceded 48 runs in three overs as also the other bowlers.
Fiery start The Super Kings response was as fiery with openers Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay indulging in hectic hitting, but then, the pressure was constant, and it eventually told on the batsmen.
Hussey was unfortunately to be ruled out leg before to Stuart Clark and then left-arm spinner Stephen O'Keefe dismissed Vijay and Suresh Raina, all scoring briskly but getting out attempting to step up the scoring.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni followed his mates into the dug-out in the 11th over and it was all over bar the shouting as the Super Kings fell to 88 for four. Thereafter, it was a regular procession and the Super Kings innings came apart in sharp contrast to the Blues innings.
Big hits Warner and Shane Watson (21) started at a gallop, scoring freely as Bollinger went for 13 runs in his first over. Both batsmen took their chances with Warner coming up with a couple of audacious switch-hits to the ropes.
The 50 came up at the end of the fifth over and the Blues seemed to be well on way to a big total. However, Ashwin struck in the seventh over as Watson top-edged to Dhoni, playing across the line and the Super Kings heaved a sigh of relief.
But then, Warner, with Steven Smith as his partner, never lifted his foot off the pedal and runs continued to flow. The little left-hander was lucky to be dropped when on 40 (73 for one) off Bravo as Shadab Jakati misjudged the catch.