New Delhi, May 22: Chennai Super Kings breezed into the final of the Pepsi IPL for the fourth straight time with a thumping 48-run win over Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier here yesterday.
Riding on pyrotechnics of Mike Hussey (86) and Suresh Raina (82), CSK posted a massive 192 for one and then did well to bowl out Mumbai Indians for 144 in 18.4 overs.
Mumbai Indians’ last nine wickets fell for 57 runs.
Mumbai will however get another chance to qualify for the final when they meet winner of the the second qualifier between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals.
For the record, CSK has made it to the fifth final in six editions of the cash-rich league.
The only time they failed to make it to the title round was the second edition held in South Africa where they lost in the semi-finals.
En route their win, Hussey (732 runs) and Dwayne Bravo (28 wickets) also retained the ‘Orange’ and ‘Purple’ Cap respectively.
Dwayne Smith’s big-hitting prowess is well documented and while chasing a target of 193, one needed to be aggressive from the word ‘go’.
He hit a blazing 28-ball 68 but after his fall, Mumbai lost wickets in heap.
Smith took full advantage of the field restriction as he played the lofted shot to good effect. Whether it was rookie Mohit Sharma or South African Chris Morris, Smith deposited all of them in the stands as MI started scoring at a rate of more than 10 per over.
Aditya Tare’s dismissal couldn’t deter Smith as rival skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni saw his bowlers being clobbered. Smith reached 50 off 21 balls and then Ravichandran Ashwin was brought into the attack.
Smith hit him for a straight six into the sight-screen and followed it with a boundary. Such was Smith’s dominance that in a partnership of 75 runs with Dinesh Karthik, the latter contributed only nine.
The mayhem couldn’t have continued forever and Dhoni introduced one of his ‘Go-To’ Man Ravindra Jadeja (3/31) which turned out to be the masterstroke.
Smith misread the length, his mistimed shot ballooned up and Raina completed the formalities.
Jadeja then bowled an arm ball which caught Karthik plumb in-front trying a sweep shot. Skipper Rohit Sharma was then holed out in the deep off Morris and MI slumped to 101 for four from a relatively strong 87 for one.
Kieron Pollard did hit a couple big sixes off Jadeja but gave a simple catch to short fine leg fielder inside the circle trying to flick one. With Pollard back in the dug-out, a victory was out of question.
Bravo (3/9) and Mohit Sharma (2/32) then polished off the tail without much difficulty.