The Chennai Super Kings, who had scraped through the league phase to claim a berth in the final four, beat the Mumbai Indians at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium to keep their hopes of reclaiming the IPL trophy alive. The defending champions beat the 2011 CLT20 champions by a convincing margin of 38 runs.
Leading from the front, MS Dhoni played his best knock of the tournament, while Dwayne Bravo contributed with the bat and the ball to take his team into the second qualifier where they will play the Delhi Daredevils at home.
Chasing 188 to win, Sachin Tendulkar (11) and Dwayne Smith (38) continued from where they had left off in Jaipur. The West Indies batsman attacked from the word go and helped his team to a great start. MI were cruising until Tendulkar returned to the dugout ending the 47-run opening partnership; He was run-out while trying to make an improbable run. Smith followed him back an over later as he was caught by Ravindra Jadeja off Shadab Jakati.
It was all downhill for MI from there on. Albie Morkel removed Dinesh Karthik (6) bringing out James Franklin to join Rohit Sharma. With the asking rate climbing up, MI were under pressure when Sharma (14) departed after edging Morkel to the wicketkeeper leaving his team at 77 for four. Amabati Rayudu (11) was the next to walk back. The middle-order bat hit R Ashwin straight to Murali Vijay at deep mid-wicket. A while later, Dwayne Bravo dismissed Franklin (13). And when Suresh Raina took a brilliant catch to send back Harbhajan Singh (1) off Hilfenhaus, MI needed 76 runs off 30 balls with three wickets in hand. With Kieron Pollard’s (16) mishit off Bravo caught safely by Raina, MI had reached the end of the road. The Mumbai franchise could only manage 149 for nine in their 20 overs.
Earlier, upon opting to bowl first, Harbhajan Singh and Dhawal Kulkarni got the Mumbai Indians off to a good start. While the skipper conceded only one run in the first over, the Kulkarni claimed two off two in the second over. But MI failed to cash in on the early breakthroughs as S Badrinath rescued the CSK innings with 94-run partnership with Michael Hussey. The No. 4 batsman sent Kulkarni twice to the boundary.
Hussey, who had taken nine balls to get off the mark, joined Badrinath in shaping the innings, and the duo kept the scoreboard ticking. Badrinath (47) fell short of well deserved half-century as he took the aerial route and found the safe hands of Pollard.
Dhoni, who replaced him at the crease, made his intent clear form the outset. Although a brilliant catch by Kulkarni at the fence saw Hussey return to pavilion for 49, the CSK skipper continued to hit the ball hard. He sent Franklin over the long-on fence for the longest six (112 meters) of IPL 2012 in the same over.
After being brought back into the attack, Kulkarni dismissed Jadeja (1) off the first ball. However, building on the diligent work of Badrinath and Hussey, Dhoni slammed Kulkarni for three consecutive boundaries. Joining the party, Bravo too hammered the MI bowlers all over the park. There was no stopping Dhoni (50*), who raced to his first half-century of the season off just 20 balls that too on the last ball of the innings. His knock included two sixes and six fours, while Bravo’s 14-ball 33-run cameo was peppered with three fours and two sixes. With an unbroken 73-run stand, the duo took CSK to 187 for the loss of five wickets.
Man-of-the-Match: MS Dhoni for his quick fire 51 off 20 balls, which included six fours and two sixes
Chennai Super Kings win by 38 runs
- Dhoni: “I play the helicopter shot because of the tennis ball cricket I played when I was a kid, I learned it from there but it's not an easy shot to play. It paid off in this particular game.”
- Harbhajan: “Obviously we are a little disappointed with the result, they played like champions with Dhoni taking the game from us. As a team we have probably underachieved in this competition. I took myself off to get RP Singh on and maybe get another wicket up front with the seam. It's hard to bowl when they are hitting like that at the death.”