New Delhi:When MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings started their DLF IPL journey with four consecutive wins, they were tipped as one of the strongest team of the tournament and fans and critics hailed them alike as one of the qualifiers for the semi-finals. Not that they were wrong, it's just that nobody thought their semi-finals' fate would be decided in their last league match.
Chennai Super Kings have now made it to the semi-finals with a 7wicket win over Deccan Chargers at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
'Man of the Match' Suresh Raina with an unbeaten knock of 54 runs steered Super Kings to victory. Dhoni also contributed crucial 37 runs. He added 55 runs with Suresh Raina for the third wicket. He hit four 4s and one six in his innings. He lost his wicket when he lofted a Pragyan Ojha-delivery with less power. Herschelle Gibbs, at long-on, did not miss the opportunity. But his wicket came a bit too late.
After Dhoni fell, Raina held his nerves and along with Albie Morkel saw his side through. Morkel chipped 12 runs and picked two wickets.
Chennai Super Kings had lost their openers Stephen Fleming for 14 runs and Parthiv Patel for 20 runs early in their innings. P Vijaykumar teased Fleming with an outgoing delivery and he just nicked it only to be taken by wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist. Parthiv Patel made 20 runs. Afridi took a brilliant catch at short cover off Sarvesh Kumar to send him back.
Earlier, Deccan Chargers' plan to bat first and post a big score was not executed to perfection as they managed 147 runs at the loss of 8 wickets. Venugopal Rao and Ravi Teja did a decent job for Deccan Chargers and put up a fightable total.
Makhaya Ntini gave Chargers early shock when he got rid of his compatriot Herschelle Gibbs for just 8 runs. Next to go was skipper Adam Gilchrist, who fell cheaply to Manpreet Gony. Scott Styris and Venugopal Rao then added 42 runs for the third wicket. But Muttiah Muralitharan did not let the Deccan duo take charge and bowled Styris for 20 runs.
Venugopal Rao then combined with Ravi Teja and added 76 runs. Albie Morkel dismissed Ravi Teja for 40 runs. In the same over, Deccan Chargers lost another two wickets of Rao, who was run out for 46 runs and Abhinav Mukund bowled for zero.
Afridi's batting woes continued as he failed again in his IPL stint. Afridi (1) and RP Singh (10) perished in the last over of the innings. Balaji claimed their wickets.
Mumbai Indians' only chance to keep themselves alive has been dashed with the Super Kings' win. The four semi-finalists are Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings.
Chennai Super Kings are likely to face Kings XI Punjab in the semi-finals.