CLT20: Royals March On Into Final
Rajasthan Royals 159-8 (Rahane 70) beat
Chennai Super Kings 145-8 by 14 runs
Champions League T20, First Semi-Final, Jaipur
Rajasthan Royals are the first team through to the Champions League T20 final after completing victory by 14 runs over Chennai Super Kings in Jaipur.
The Royals were given a late scare by R Ashwin after Pravin Tambe had helped reduce the Super Kings to 72 for seven. Ashwin blitzed 46 off only 28 balls and got the equation down to 17 off five balls before perishing off James Faulkner.
Chennai were never in the hunt prior to Ashwin’s onslaught. Ajinkya Rahane led the Royals to 159 for eight with a mature knock of 70, with Chennai then losing wickets regularly in the first half of their innings.
The influential Mike Hussey was first to go, run-out after a mix-up with his opening partner Murali Vijay. Vijay himself was then also run-out as the innings got off to a terrible start. Suresh Raina did provide some brief respite with a 23-ball 29, but he was seventh man out with the score on 72 as the middle-order folded to leg-spinner Pravin Tambe.
Tambe had Subramaniam Badrinath stumped for eight and Dwayne Bravo trapped LBW for three before picking up Raina courtesy of a catch from substitute fielder Ashok Menaria. Rahul Shukla gave Tambe adequate support and took the big wicket of MS Dhoni.
Ashwin and South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris then kept the Super Kings hopes just about alive with an eighth-wicket stand worth 73 in just 43 balls. Morris ended on 26 not out off 17 balls, but it was Ashwin who was by far the aggressor and plundered six boundaries, including three sixes, to give his side a sliver of a chance going into the final over.
Rahane had earlier helped the Royals recover from a stuttering start to post a competitive total. Rahul Dravid failed once again to make a meaningful contribution at the top of the order, while the decision to promote Kevon Cooper to number three left them on 29 for two.
It was the fourth-wicket partnership of 59 with Shane Watson that formed the backbone of the innings. The Australian made a breezy 32 off 23 balls before succumbing to Morris, with Rahane eventually falling as one of three wickets for Dwayne Bravo.
The second semi-final begins at 2000 local time (1430 GMT) tomorrow, with Trinidad & Tobago taking on IPL champions Mumbai Indians.
© Cricket World 2013