The Chennai Super Kings are going to be a pretty hard team to beat.
The IPL stalwarts cruised to the semifinals of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) with another breezy win over the Brisbane Heat in the JSCA International Cricket stadium in Ranchi on Saturday night.
CSK players celebrate the wicket of Brisbane Heat batsman Chris Lynn in their CLT20 game in Ranchi, September 28
Set a modest target of 138, after the Brisbane Heat somehow found their way to 137 for seven, CSK barely broke sweat, finishing on 140 for two in 15.5 overs for their third straight win in the tournament.
The Heat are out of the tournament having suffered three defeats in three, with the second semifinal spot now between Trinidad & Tobago, Titans and the Sunrisers Hyderabad, who lost to the South African side earlier in the day.
Murali Vijay finally got an innings of note after not really troubling the scorers in the first two matches. The right-handed opener played the aggressor's role with Michael Hussey more than happy to just play second fiddle and take the boundaries when it comes along.
With Vijay showing some form at the top, and Hussey (57 n.o., 48b, 7x4) rarely troubled, it meant any chance of the Heat troubling CSK with the chase was gone.
Vijay raced to 42 (27b, 5x4, 2x6) before one big shot too many led to his demise - Joe Burns taking a good catch off the bowling of Ben Cutting.
That brought CSK's in-form man Suresh Raina to the crease, and with the result never really in doubt both the elegant left-handers took their team ever closer, before Raina (23, 15b, 1x4, 2x6) fell - lbw off Daniel Christian -- with CSK needing another 22 runs for a win.
M.S. Dhoni came in, much to the delight of the home crowd, with the CSK skipper finishing the game off in some style, courtesy a four and a six.
It was not the best of innings for Brisbane Heat, with the lower middle order bailing the side out with some hitting towards the end.
Mohit Sharma started the Heat slide by picking up Dom Michael in the first over, with the opener chipping one straight to cover.
James Hopes and Chris Lynn tried to steady things in the middle, and for a while, a little while, it looked like they would before the former was sent packing.
A leading edge off Albie Morkel fell to the large bucket hands of Jason Holder at mid-off. The Heat wicket train continued with Daniel Christian and Joe Burns both losing their wickets to Ravindra Jadeja (two for 18) in the same over.
Dhoni dropped Joe Lynn in the next over, but R Ashwin did finally get his man, with a befuddled Lynn getting an outside edge to Jadeja at gully. Ashwin bowled a tremendous four-over spell, giving away just ten runs for one wicket, including a maiden.
Chris Sabburg's wicket in the 13th over meant the Heat were on a perilous 66 for six. However, that produced some brilliant backs-to-the-wall batting from Chris Hartley (35, 32b, 3x4) and Ben Cutting, with the latter, who only dealt in sixes, finishing unbeaten on 42 from just 25 balls (5x6).
The Heat took 60 runs from the last five overs, with 21 of those coming off the last over from Mohit Sharma.
It was just some consolation for the Heat, though, as CSK stamped their authority with the bat.
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