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IPL 2014 Eliminator – CSK vs MI: Efficient CSK Enter Another Qualifier

By on May 29, 2014

Chennai Super Kings 176 for 3 (Raina 54*, D Hussey 40*, Harbhajan 2-27) beat Mumbai Indians 173 for 8 (Simmons 67, Mohit 3-42) by 7 wickets.

After a few off games, Chennai Super Kings held on to all their catches, after which Mumbai Indians fumbled in the field to clear the qualifier passage for the most consistent team in the IPL history.

The game was won and lost in the final few overs of Mumbai’s innings when they went from 140 for 2 in 16 overs to 173 for 8 in 20.

IPL 2014 Eliminator - CSK vs MI: Suresh RainaLendl Simmons’ half-century had set them up beautifully, but Mumbai’s batsmen fell one after the other as Super Kings bowlers remained accurate and stifled them with changes of pace.

An edgy but quick start to the chase was driven home by Suresh Raina, who earlier in the day made his India comeback as the ODI captain.

Mumbai wouldn’t have excepted such a facile defeat after a rollicking start provided by former Super Kings opener Michael Hussey and Simmons.

They added 76 in 9.4 overs, finding gaps regularly and using the quick outfield and the slope of the Brabourne Stadium.

A big, fighting total looked on the cards when Corey Anderson raced away to 20 off 10. R Ashwin, who had bowled well without success until then, drew a top edge to send Anderson back with the first ball of the 13th over.

A platform had been set nonetheless, and Super Kings were still looking at a stiff target. And Mumbai seemed well on their way, with 41 runs off the next 23 balls, but like he had done earlier, Ravindra Jadeja provided another breakthrough with Simmons’ wicket. The ball had been turning, but this one didn’t, and the Super Kings spinners did their job with just 57 runs in their eight overs. Their contribution was crucial because Brendon McCullum’s comeback had meant Super Kings had no overseas bowlers.

Mohit Sharma and Ashish Nehra ended well as Mumbai kept mis-hitting the big ones and kept finding the deep fielders. Quite opposite was the start of the Super Kings innings. Praveen Kumar looked more incisive than any of the Super Kings quicks, but he was denied by Umpire Bruce Oxenford, who let Dwayne Smith get away with possibly the plumbest lbw of the IPL season. Oxenford suggested the ball was going down; it was Mumbai that were going down after this decision. Corey Anderson suffered at the hand of his fielders, when Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu converged to attempt Faf du Plessis’ catch, with neither going for it.

Harbhajan did manage to pull things back, though, with slow loopy offbreaks to take out both the openers after they had raced to 60 in the first six overs. With the ball turning and gripping, it seemed we could have a tight chase, a feeling reinforced by McCullum getting stumped to make it 87 for 3 with 10.3 overs to go. Raina, though, went on to display some of his vintage IPL form, in the company of David Hussey.

There never seemed any panic around. His six over extra cover, off the bowling of Harbhajan, was the turning point in this innings. Even though D Hussey struggled to get going at the start, Raina kept the asking rate in check with well-placed shots that weren’t necessary boundaries. As Super Kings took the game further without the asking rate getting out of hand, Mumbai kept getting pushed out with no death bowler in their ranks.

Raina, who has played every Super Kings match in the history of the IPL, soon matched the record for most scores of 50 or more in the event, 23, by which time D Hussey had also got into the act and all but ended the game.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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