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Harvey smashes Superstars to victory

The Chennai Superstars have defeated the Mumbai Champs by 38 runs to register their second consecutive victory in the ICL Indian 20:20 Championship.

It was a tremendous overall performance by Stuart Law’s team. Harvey (63 from 41 balls) smashed four sixes in his innings and registered the highest individual score and Thiru Kumaran (6/20) followed up by achieving the first five-wicket haul of the tournament.

Thiru Kumaran was adjudged the player of the match for his marvelous spell of bowling. Chasing a daunting 158, the Mumbai Champs made a steady start to their run-chase, courtesy of Dheeraj Jadhav (30) and Johan van der Wath (31) who played attacking cricket and kept the required run-rate under check at all times.

All eyes were on Brian Lara after van der Wath and Jadhav had given a ideal platform for the prince of Trinidad to produce his wide variety of strokes and lead his team to victory – but it was not to be and the fans were a saddened bunch when a struggling Lara scooped the ball in the air and was caught by Hemant Kumar at deep mid-wicket. The captain of the Mumbai Champs appeared to have been carrying some sort of an injury and didn’t look all that comfortable while running between the wickets.

The dismissal of Dheeraj Jadhav was probably the turning point, since it got Kumaran into the act and heaps of wickets followed. The left-hander was out to a tremendous catch by Sri Lankan Russell Arnold. Nathan Astle (20) looked aggressive until he missed a slower delivery from Kumaran and lost his off stump. Johan van der Wath top-scored for the Mumbai Champs after being promoted to number three, although the South African all-rounder would’ve rued the fact that his strike rate of 91 could have been a little better.

Earlier, Ian Harvey replicated his success at the English domestic circuit in 20:20 cricket at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium here for the fans who gathered on a winter’s Monday evening. The Australian gave an exhilarating start to the Superstars by smashing the likes of Dillon, van der Wath and Ranjeet Kirid to all corners of the ground. He was ably supported by wicket-keeper batsman Chris Read (34) who smashed five boundaries in his innings. The duo added 78 runs for the second wicket – another record achieved on this stirring evening.

The fielding of both teams was really impressive – Arnold took a blinder of a catch, so did Badani and earlier in the evening Solanki took a stunner to get rid of the dangerous Russell Arnold.

Most fans and commentators in the stadium declared the encounter between the Champs and the Superstars as the ‘match of the tournament’, principally for the verity that Harvey smashed four sixes and Kumaran snapped six wickets!

The Mumbai Champs would have to go back to the drawing board and rework their stratagems before their next match against the Delhi Jets on Friday, the 7th of December. Lara and his boys have gone down in two consecutive matches and face a virtual must-win situation when they take center stage again.

Michael Bevan (coach) and his Chennai Superstars look well set to advance to the semi final stage of the tournament, unless they end up on the losing side in their remaining three matches of the group stage. The Superstars attain a well-deserved rest of five days and take the field on Saturday, 8th of December against the Chandigarh Lions.

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