Super Kings into play-offs

Dwayne Bravo (left) became the leading wicket-taker in this year’s IPL today with 19.
Dwayne Bravo (left) became the leading wicket-taker in this year’s IPL today with 19.

CHENNAI – Chennai Super Kings became the first team to seal a berth in the Pepsi IPL 2013 Play-Offs with a thrilling last over win over Kings XI Punjab at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai today.

Super Kings, riding on Suresh Raina’s superb unbeaten 100, posted a formidable 186, and then kept Kings XI Punjab down to 171, 15 runs short. This victory was CSK’s seventh consecutive victory this season – equaling Royal Challengers Bangalore’s record run of consecutive wins in 2011.

Chasing 187, Kings XI Punjab were jolted early as Mohit Sharma knocked back Luke Pomersbach’s (7) stump in the second over. Mandeep Singh was put down on seven by Dwayne Bravo off Sharma. The bowler came back strongly, dismissing Mandeep (15) caught by Raina at extra-cover. Sharma was dispatched for two boundaries in the 8th over as David Hussey and Shaun Marsh started to rebuild their innings. At the halfway stage, Kings XI Punjab were 65 for 2, still needing 122 runs.

David Hussey (22) stepped out and slammed Ravichandran Ashwin for a six before perishing a couple balls later caught by Bravo at long-off. Marsh took 19 runs from Raina’s only over – the 12th of the innings – with two sixes and a boundary. David Miller and Marsh put on 95 runs for the fourth wicket. Needing 65 off the final 30 balls, Marsh hit Bravo for two boundaries. Miller (51 not out) continued his assault with consecutive boundaries off Chris Morris before scoring a six off Bravo to reduce the equation to 30 from 12 balls. Kings XI managed 11 runs in the penultimate over. With 19 needed from the last over captain MS Dhoni turned to Bravo and he delivered magnificently. Bravo dismissed Marsh (73), Gurkeerat Singh (0) and Rajagopal Sathish (0) to herald the victory for the home team and to become the tournament’s leading wicket-taker.†Earlier Super Kings won the toss and elected to bat. Wriddiman Saha slammed Praveen Kumar for a six before cutting him away for a boundary in the third over. Saha (18) then hit Parvinder Awana straight to Marsh at deep square-leg to give Kings XI their first wicket. Raina survived a run out attempt on four when the TV Umpire gave the batsman the benefit of doubt after replays could not convincingly show the batsman to be out of his ground. Super Kings made 36 from the Power Play.

Super Kings started to accelerate, as Michael Hussey (35) pulled Manpreet Gony for two boundaries before Chawla fired in a flatter delivery and had him stumped. Raina continued attacking with a six off Chawla. R Sathish ran out Dhoni (2) with a brilliant piece of fielding. Raina launched two massive sixes off Gony before smashing Sathish for consecutive boundaries. Albie Morkel joined in, depositing Sathish into the crowd in the 17th over. Awana had Morkel (23) caught by David Miller in the 19th over. Raina brought up his maiden IPL century in the final over as CSK made 186 for four.†

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