Chennai enter their fifth IPL final


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New Delhi: Dwayne Smith’s wicket was what Chennai wanted.

The West Indian (68 off 28) had smashed six fours and five sixes, and was threatening to chase down Chennai’s first innings total of 192/1. Time for Ravindra Jadeja to enter the scene, as Suresh Raina got his hands around the ball. After that it was just a question of chipping away.

Jadeja trapped Karthik leg-before-wicket, and when Rohit Sharma choked by going in the air, Mumbai were going to be in big trouble. 101/4. Kieron Pollard smashed 24, a knock that included two sixes in a row off Jadeja, before the left-armer sent one at the feet, and Pollard flicked the ball straight to Hussey at short fine leg. Dwayne Bravo then emulated his mate, by picking up three wickets, and the purple cap. Mohit Sharma got rid of No.10 Pragyan Ojha to give CSK victory by 48 runs in the first qualifier, sending them into their fifth IPL final.

Earlier, Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat first. They lost just one wicket, that of Murali Vijay, who fell for 23, caught by Smith off Pollard.

It was a show that belonged to Michael Hussey (86*) and Suresh Raina (82*). The duo added 140 runs for the second wicket by feasting on the Mumbai bowling. Dinesh Karthik was standing up to Munaf Patel, and when the bowler offered width, Hussey had no problems cutting the ball for four. Munaf directed his ire at the fielder, but everybody knew that we were looking at a batsman in form. Prior to picking up the orange cap, Hussey rotated the strike well, hitting some wonderful shots, on the swivel. The left-hander scooped a low full-toss from Malinga over short fine leg for six, before repeating the same shot for four.

At the other end, Suresh Raina being Suresh Raina was treating himself to five fours and five sixes. On a track that was good for batting, Raina was offered room to swing his bat, and when he found a full toss, he didn’t hesitate to send the ball beyond the ropes. There were some fine shots over midwicket, and when he lifted the ball, to watch his back lift coming down to meet the ball, before turning into a follow through, was a pleasing sight for those watching. It was the left-handed of these two batsmen that gave Chennai the early advantage.

All Mumbai can do is lick their wounds and wait for their second chance. For that, they will have to wait for the winner of the eliminator between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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