James Fiztpatrick | cricket20
The defending IPL champions sealed their place in the semi finals thanks to a fantastic 11 run victory over the Delhi DareDevils to increase their winning streak to five games after being on the verge of elimination half way through the tournament.
The Chargers amazing come back has seen them claim victories over the Royal Challengers Bangalore (twice), Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab to set up a winner takes all clash against the DareDevils.
The Chargers are now guaranteed to finish second in the IPL group standings while the DareDevils will be left to contemplate on what might have been as they miss out on the knock out stages for the first time in the IPL’s three year history.
Set a target of just 146 for victory the DareDevils top order suffered another terrible start as they lost David Warner (5), Virender Sehwag (8) Tillakaratne Dilshan (11) all dismissed cheaply inside the first fours overs to leave the home side 25-3.
Warner was the first to go, having hit Mitchell Marsh for a boundary from the first ball off his over Warner tried to repeat the shot but could only get a think inside edge on the delivery and was caught by Rohit Sharma in the slips.
Next to go was Sehwag, after giving away his wicket against the Chennai Super Kings on Thursday night he repeated the feat with a lazy slog which was brilliant caught by Sharma who plucked the ball out of the air one handed with an amazing dive in the slips.
Dilshan completed the top order collapse when he was trapped LBW by the impressive Harmeet Singh, leaving Gautam Gambhir and Mithun Manhas to rebuild the innings having found themselves in an identical situation against the Super Kings 4 days ago leading the DareDevils to an important victory.
History didn’t repeat itself though thanks to a another fantastic diving catch by Sharma to dismiss the DareDevils skipper Gambhir (4) as he tried to smash Pragyan Ojha’s third delivery of the innings through short mid off to leave the home side 39-4.
Manhas was joined by Paul Collingwood at the crease and although the pair built a partnership of 29 run sit took 33 balls as the Chargers spinners were taking control of the game.
With the run rate slowing the pressure got to Manhas (23) who ran himself out after calling Collingwood through for a quick single. Manhas hesitated in the middle of the wicket and with Collingwood fully committed Manhas was run out at the non strikers end.
Dinesh Karthik (1) quickly followed as the DareDevils were now in free fall having been reduced to 72-6 with the home side still needing another 74 runs from just 43 balls.
Harmeet Singh picked up his second wicket of the night to remove Amit Mishra (4) soon after as the Chargers closed in on a crushing victory.
Collingwood remained at the crease bring up his half century with a huge six but the asking rate was too high for the Englishman to steer the DareDevils for an unlikely victory.
The Chargers will now face the Chennai Super Kings on Thursday night at the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy stadium on Thursday night.
Having won the toss the Chargers got off to the worst possible start losing Adam Gilchrist (10) in the second over, the skipper’s disappointing tournament with the bat continued when he was caught by Gautam Gambhir to give Ashish Nehra the early break through.
Monish Mishra was joined at the crease by Tirumalasetti Suman and the pair built up a partnership of 21 before the DareDevils introduced Umesh Yadav who bowled Suman (5) with his first delivery to leave the Chargers 32-2.
With only 4 overs gone the Chargers had plenty of time to mount a recovery but the wickets of Rohit Sharma (11) and Mishra (25) made their chances of producing a big total even harder.
With so much riding on the outcome of the game the Chargers batsmen were guilty of getting out before any of them had made a big contribution. The pressure was now on Andrew Symonds to produce a match winning innings.
Partnered by 18 year old Mitchell Marsh the Aussie all-rounder attacked the DareDevils bowlers hitting three sixes in the space of 7 balls to bring up the Chargers 100.
Symonds passed his half century with a boundary of Paul Collingwood but he failed to build an even higher score when he was caught by Mithun Manhas at long-off as he tried to hit Amit Mishra for a boundary.
Marsh (13), soon followed as the Chargers slipped to 121-6. to leave new batsmen Bodapati Sumanth and Chaminda Vaas an uphill struggle to post a total over 150.
Vass contributed just 3 runs to the total before he was dismissed by Collingwood at the end of the 17th over to leave the Chargers 128-7. Sumanth (7) and Rahul Sharma (14) saw out the last 12 balls to help the defending champs reach 145-7.