Tuesday 27 May 2008 

Raina Smashes Chennai Super Kings Into Semi-Finals

Deccan Chargers 147-8 (Vanugopal Rao 46, Ravi Teja 40, Balaji 2-34) v
Chennai Super Kings 148-3 (Raina 54no, Dhoni 37)

Chennai Super Kings won by seven wickets
By Pierce Morley-Barnes

The Chennai Super Kings booked their place in the semi-finals with a sensational seven-wicket victory, thanks to a mature fifty from Suresh Raina as they became the latest team to win a match in the final over, Raina winning the match with a six with four balls to spare.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Deccan Chargers hit 147-8 off their allotted 20 overs before the Chennai side closed on 148 for three, Raina unbeaten on 54.

Some disciplined bowling from the Chennai Super Kings reduced the Deccan Chargers to 15 for two in the fourth over, with both Herschelle Gibbs (eight) and Adam Gilchrist (five) back in the dugout having both been caught at third man as they both flashed at wide deliveries off Manpreet Gony and Makhaya Ntini respectively.

Gony was again the most impressive Super Kings bowler as he outshone Ntini and Muttiah Muralitharan with his pace and bounce. This was complemented nicely by Ntini�s skiddy bowling that hurried the batsman more, even if he was a little more wayward.

A few overs later, Scott Styris was bowled by Muralitharan as he reduced the Deccan Chargers to 57 for three after ten overs.

This wicket brought Venugopal Rao and Ravi Teja (40) together. The pair added 75 for the fourth wicket with some clever batting as they helped get their side out of a spot of bother as they played for pride, due to the Deccan Chargers having no chance of reaching the semi-finals.

Albie Morkel was brought back into the attack to bowl the nineteenth over and it turned out to be a eventful one. 13 runs were conceded as he was hit for a six and a four, but he also picked up two wickets and caused the run out of Rao for 46.

Wickets continued to tumble at the end of the innings for the Deccan Chargers, including the wicket of Shahid Afridi who continued his appalling form as he was caught at long off by Suresh Raina for just one.

The last ball saw RP Singh fall for a quickfire ten as he launched a ball miles in the air, only to be caught superbly by Morkel to end the innings. 147 may not look a lot, but with the pressure on Chennai to win, anything could have happened over the next 20 overs.

At first, the Chennai Super Kings made light work of their target of 148. Parthiv Patel and Suresh Raina batted sensibly and put away the bad ball as they accumulated the score to 60 having lost Stephen Fleming (20) with the score on 26.

The two young left handers took advantage of some poor Deccan Chargers bowling as RP Singh struggled to find his line and length.

Shahid Afridi bowled well during the middle overs as he varied his pace cleverly, giving the ball more flight than usual to lure the Chennai batsman into a silly shot, but they had their heads switched on to their task.

At the half-way stage of the Super Kings innings, they were going well on 72-2, with cult figure Mahendra Dhoni at the crease looking comfortable. Every run scored by Dhoni will worry Sarvesh Kumar as he dropped a sitter off his own bowling on Dhoni�s first ball at the crease.

One problem for the Deccan Chargers was apparent and that was that they really did not have any firepower with the ball throughout their side. They didn�t really have anyone who you thought would have stood up and produced some vital wickets.

If you were a Chennai Super Kings supporter, you would want one man to be at the crease to see you through to the semi-finals, that man was MS Dhoni. He batted sensationally as he craftily blasted 37 before he was caught brilliantly by Gibbs who made considerable ground and caught the ball that looked like it was going for a flat six. Was this going to make much difference to the outcome of the match with just 33 runs needed off 28 balls?

There was a shift in the momentum when Albie Morkel came to the crease. For once he found it difficult to score and played out a Styris over for just one run as the Chargers became the favourites for the first time in the match.

A lucky inside edge from Morkel that ran away for four left the Super Kings needing seven to win off the last over to book their place in the semi-finals.

Raina who showed his talents with a well made 54 not out, as he brought his fifty up with a six straight back over the bowlers head to lead his side to a seven wicket victory.

This game was watched by a packed crowd which saw the Super Kings move into the semi-finals.

� Cricket World 2008

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