CSK beat Kochi Tuskers, enter IPL play-offs (Lead)

May 19th, 2011 - 1:13 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, May 18 (IANS) Chennai Super Kings paraded the depth in their talent and all-round strength as they beat Kochi Tuskers Kerala by 11 runs Wednesday to enter the play-offs stage of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

It was the Super Kings’ ninth win in 13 matches and their seventh out of as many at home as they moved to the top of the table with 18 points while the Tuskers bowed out of the competition with 12 points.

Batting first on winning the toss, the Super Kings yet again finished well, taking 51 runs off the last five overs to post 152 for five with Wriddhiman Saha (46 off 33) being the top-scorer after an unconvincing 32 by Michael Hussey.

In reply, the Tuskers, despite a fighting half-century by Brad Hodge (51 not out) could manage on 141 for five in their quota of 20 overs as they paid the price for some sloppy fielding that let the Super Kings off the hook.

In fact, for reasons as yet unknown, the Super Kings did not use their frontline bowler Albie Morkel who usually opens the bowling, but Wednesday, he was very much on the field but was not given the ball. Yet, the hosts had enough firepower to check the Tuskers.

The Super Kings could not have asked for bigger slices of luck as Parthiv Patel dropped a catch and muffed two easy stumpings to allow the hosts to get away.

To top it all, Hussey was palpably out, caught behind by Patel off Ravindra Jadeja when he lead-edged a sweep, but umpire Rudi Koertzen, quite shockingly, ruled the batsman not out. Hussey chose not to walk.

Strangely for the Super Kings, each time they threatened to cut loose, they lost wickets. First up, it was Murali Vijay who slammed RP Singh for three boundaries, but was out in the same over, bowled by a yorker.

Later, Suresh Raina (19), dropped by Patel when still to score, smashed two sixes and a boundary off Sreesanth only to be out off a full-toss later in the same over.

Then it was Subramaniam Badrinath’s turn to get out after lifting Brad Hodge for a six as the Super Kings innings slid with Hussey and then skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (9) following him back to the dugout in quick succession.

However, Saha stood and delivered for the Super Kings, who scored 51 runs off the last five overs with the little batsman connecting some big hits as the hosts moved past the 150-mark to give themselves more than an even chance to win.

The third over dismissal of Patel put the Tuskers on the backfoot as the skipper drove Ashwin straight to Albie Morkel at mid-off.

Thereafter, the Super Kings gradually tightened their grip on the game and although the Tuskers seemed to keep pace, the asking rate kept mounting along with the pressure.

A couple of promising partnerships failed to take off and the exit of Gnaeswara Rao (19) followed by Brendon McCullum virtually took the game away from the Tuskers.

In the latter half of the innings, Hodge and Ravindra Jadeja struck a few big hits, but it was all too little too late and the Super Kings came through quite comfortably.

Jadeja fell to a brilliant running catch by Doug Bollinger and then Hodge struck two sixes off Dwayne Bravo in the 19th over, as the Tuskers needed 19 off the last over bowled by Bollinger, who ran out an over-eager Owais Shah.

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