Chennai Super Kings 187-5 (Dhoni 51no) beat
Mumbai Indians 149-9 by 38 runs
Indian Premier League Eliminator, Bangalore
Reigning Indian Premier League champions Chennai Super Kings kept their hopes of glory alive by beating Mumbai Indians by 38 runs in the 2012 Eliminator in Bangalore.
The battle to face Delhi Daredevils in the final knock-out game was won by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team, who recovered from a terrible start to run out convincing winners.
Dhoni himself led from the front with an unbeaten half-century as Chennai bounced back from losing two wickets in two balls early to post 187 for five and after a fast start from Mumbai, they could only reach 149 for nine in reply.
Dwayne Smith top scored with 38 but a brace of wickets apiece from Albie Morkel and Dwayne Bravo proved too much for the 2011 Champions League Twenty20 winners.
Chennai and Delhi will face off on Friday (25th May) for the right to play Kolkata Knight Riders in Sunday's final.
The reigning IPL champions, having been invited to bat by Mumbai, got off to a dreadful start when they lost Murali Vijay (1) and Suresh Raina (0) to consecutive Dhawal Kulkarni deliveries in the second over.
Vijay was caught by Rohit Sharma and Raina was bowled for a golden duck but help was in hand for the men in yellow courtesy of Michael Hussey and Subramaniam Badrinath. The first of two substantial partnerships saw them out of danger and set them up for a competitive score.
Badrinath rode his luck, inside-edging on more than one occasion as he took on cross-batted shots but also played some more orthodox shots, hitting eight fours and a six on the way to 48 in 39 balls as the partnership grew to 94 for the third wicket.
Hussey was more clean in his hitting, particularly straight and through the covers, his 49 in 39 deliveries featuring six fours and a six. Badrinath fell when he was caught by Sharma off Kieron Pollard, Hussey was caught by Kulkarni off James Franklin and when Ravi jadeja holed out to Sharma for Kulkarni's third wicket, Chennai had slipped to 114 for five and were again in some trouble.
Seldom has there been a better time for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to produce an outstanding Twenty20 innings of 51 in 20 balls that, along with Bravo's entertaining 33 in 14 balls, carried Chennai to 187 for five.
Dhoni slammed six fours and two sixes while Bravo hit two sixes in as many balls - one of which almost taking him off his feet - as well as three fours, the pair adding 73 in the final five overs together.
Kulkarni's early wickets and that of Jadeja garnered him figures of three for 46 and while he was severely treated late on, Harbhajan Singh (0-20 from three) and Dwayne Smith (one over for six) managed to keep their economy rates below seven.
Smith then turned his attentions to batting and quickly tore into the Chennai bowlers, and Ben Hilfenhaus in particular, carting him for three boundaries in one over.
He was on 33 when the first wicket fell at 47, Tendulkar run out by almost the length of the pitch after hesitating, returning to his crease and then setting off again when Smith called him through for a single that was probably there for the taking. The Little Master had made 11 in as many balls.
Smith showed he could combine the raw power which was too much for Hilfenhaus with some deft touches, sweeping Ashwin for four although he perished soon after when he top-edged Shadab Jakati to be caught by Jadeja for 38 in 22.
Mumbai's innings was in even worse health soon after at 68 for three when Dinesh Karthik (6) edged Morkel to Dhoni behind the stumps. When Sharma then fell to the same combination, it was 77 for four and Chennai were certainly on top.
Franklin and Ambati Rayudu joined forces with Pollard and Harbhajan Singh waiting to come in next. Franklin hit Morkel for a handsome six over square leg and the energetic Rayudu struck two fours before finding the hands of Vijay in the deep as he swept Ashwin into the air. Out for 12 in seven balls and with the run-rate over ten, this was Pollard's chance to do what he had been unable to do in the final two years ago - beat Chennai when the stakes were high.
It is often difficult to keep Bravo out of the action and he got among the wickets when he had Franklin (14 in 13 balls) caught behind to leave Mumbai in further trouble, needing 86 to win in 39 balls with Pollard and Harbhajan at the crease.
Harbhajan was hit on the head by Bravo and his contribution to the game ended soon after when he was well caught by Raina off Hilfenhaus for one.
Pollard smashed one six but then struggled to get back on strike as Chennai tied Lasith Malinga down at the other end to the extent that when Pollard did get on strike, he refused a single, although he justified it by hitting compatriot Bravo through midwicket for four.
This, however, was a task too far for even Pollard, and although he was bowled via an inside edge off a Hilfenhaus no ball the big man was unable to reap much reward, falling in the 18th over as Bravo returned figures of two for 11 to cap a fine game.
Mumbai started the game in explosive fashion with the brace of early wickets but ended in a whimper, closing on 149 for nine, well short.
The result means that they will need to qualify for this year's Champions League Twenty20 competition despite being the reigning champions.
© Cricket World 2012