Friday, September 24, 2010

CL T20: Chennai to the final by beating RCB

Ever since Dale Steyn walked off the field without bowling a ball, events unfolded in Chennai's way. It started from Suresh Raina murdering bowlers and continued into the Bangalore innings that never gained momentum and eventually folded up for 123/9 to concede a comprehensive 52-run win.

After water from the heavens turned the Twenty20 affair into a 17-over showdown, it was fours (5) and sixes (6) from Suresh Raina's bat that stormed the Kingsmead as the big-match player butchered Bangalore bowlers, punishing them for 94 runs in 48 balls.

Bangalore were always behind the eight ball chasing a revised target of 176 as per the D/L method. Rahul Dravid got a golden ball duck, which triggered a procession of Bangalore batsmen that continued until the fall of last wicket.

Only Manish Pandey (52 off 44) put up some fight against a Chennai attack that showed teeth right from the first ball. Both Doug Bollinger (3 for 27) and Albie Morkel (1 for 13) were unplayable and took full advantage of a freshened-up pitch under overcast skies.

The middle and lower order of Bangalore tried to use the long handle but were doing that in a losing cause and in that endeavour became victim to Muralitharan (2 for 38), R Ashwin (1 for 32) and L Balaji (1 for 13). 

The turn of events started in the Chennai innings when Steyn hurt himself after the rain delay while taking a catch to dismiss Michael Hussey (6). The premium fast bowler hit his head and back badly on the ground, which left him dizzy and not in a state to bowl a single ball.

Bangalore became a bowler short and that too of the quality of Steyn who could run through an opposition with his sheer pace.

From that point on, it was exclusively a Suresh Raina show. The southpaw feasted on Bangalore bowlers who had no answers to Raina's prolific stroke play. Watching Raina go berserk, Bangalore almost resigned to the fact that they would be chasing a mammoth total and looked like waiting for their turn with the bat.

Murali Vijay was the other notable contributor in the Chennai's 174-run effort, scoring 41 off 32 balls in an 81-run second-wicket partnership with Suresh Raina.

Chennai will now face the winner of second semifinal between South Australia Redbacks and Warriors to be played on Saturday.

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