Super Kings set IPL final date with Rajasthan Royal

June 1st, 2008 - 9:35 am ICT by admin  

Mumbai, June 1 (IANS) Chennai Super Kings will clash with Rajasthan Royals in the title clash of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after they thrashed Kings XI Punjab by nine wickets in a one-sided semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium here Saturday. It was another anti-climactic semi-final and this time it was the batting of Punjab Kings XI that crumbled against the clinical bowling of Chennai Super Kings.

Lack of application from the Yuvraj Singh-led side saw them getting just 112 runs for the loss of eight wickets in 20 overs.

The target was achieved with ease by the unbeaten partnership of Parthiv Patel (51) and Suresh Raina (55) to propel Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team into the final.

Super Kings, who had beaten Punjab Kings XI twice before, home and away in the league phase, extended that domination on a neutral venue.

The Kings XI batsmen seemed too anxious to break free of the past record and succumbed in the process to some accurate bowling and brilliant fielding from Super Kings.

Going into the final, that same pressure may well work on Super Kings, who have lost twice to Rajasthan Royals.

A total of 112 was hardly a target for a fightback and though opener S. Vidyut was sent back early, Patel and Raina played brilliant knocks to take their team to a comprehensive victory.

Yuvraj tried all his bowlers and even gave his two spinners Ramesh Powar and Piyush Chawla fair spells but playing under no pressure, Patel and Raina were in full flow and their partnership was never under danger.

Punjab’s decision to bat first on a wicket that is known to provide bounce and movement was not bad, but the batsmen failed to encash on it.

After striking out the surprise element in the form of Muttiah Muralitharan, opener Shaun Marsh and one-down Kumara Sangakkara showed a lack of commitment that was surprising with so much at stake. James Hopes slashed at a wide ball from Makhaya Ntini to land in Patel’s gloves and Sangakkara followed suit, this time to a ball from Manpreet Gony, which Patel collected even as Sangakara waked on a half-hearted appeal from Gony.

All was not lost, as at the crease was their batting star Shaun Marsh, who had scored 593 from 10 games, and he was joined by captain Yuvraj, whose batting skills apart from aggressive leadership brought the team to the semi-final stage.

But, the captain departed as a fierce pull from a slightly short delivery from Gony was brilliantly caught by Muralitharan at mid-wicket. Anticipating the shot and moving early, the Sri Lankan virtually plucked the ball out of the air that was moving at a breakneck speed.

If that wicket was disaster for the Kings XI, then what followed was catastrophe. Marsh tried to pull Ntini, was beaten by the pace, and ended up playing on. This rash stroke, coming just after he struck the South African for a glorious straight boundary, was typical of the malady that struck the Punjab Kings XI batting lineup.

To compound matters, Irfan Pathan was the runout victim of an unfortunate mixup with Mahela Jayawardene, who himself departed without much ado and it was thanks to some belligerence from Wilkin Mota (25) and Ramesh Powar (28) that Punkab Kings XI managed to cross the century mark.

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