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Harvey powers Superstars to victory

The Chennai Superstars have overcome a fierce challenge from the Chandigarh Lions by achieving a breathtaking 4wicket victory to virtually confirm a berth in the semi-final stage of the tournament.

Aussie all-rounder Ian Harvey (48) sustained his excellent form with a flurry of strikes to complete a successful run-chase and stamp his authority on the match.

The Lions' captain Chris Cairns won the toss and elected to bat first in Game 8 of the ICL Indian 20:20 Championship. Teams have found it a little easier to chase in the day matches here at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium and it certainly appeared that way when Ian Harvey and V Devendran went out to open the batting for the Superstars and began the run-chase of 148.

The match was all but won when Harvey was going along great guns but it eventually went down to the wire following a few bizarre dismissals, especially the run out of R Satish. Captain Stuart Law (13 not out) was there at the end to ensure his team achieved the significant third uninterrupted triumph.

His partner, Vasanth Sarvanan (11 not out) was the man who struck the decisive blow in the last over off Daryl Tuffey (1/40) had a forgettable day, going for ten runs per over and overstepping the popping crease on more than a few occasions. The Chennai Superstars won the match with a ball to spare. Ian Harvey was adjudged the player of the match for his overall efforts with both bat and ball.

Left-handers Hemang Badani and Russell Arnold chipped in with seventeen each in the middle order to partner Harvey through the middle overs. Chris Cairns was the pick of the Lions bowlers ending with staggering figures of 3/17. Both veterans Arnold and B added 34 runs each with Harvey for the third and fourth wicket respectively.

Debutant V Devendran smashed three boundaries in the space of four deliveries before playing an overambitious stroke against Daryl Tuffey and losing his middle stump in the process. The dismissal brought pinch hitter and wicket-keeper batsman Chris Read (18) to the crease who added 36 runs for the second wicket with Harvey.

Chris Cairns, who rolled his arm over for a change, struck with the crucial wicket of Read, when the Englishman tried to heave the Lions' captain for a six. Harvey continued to remain aggressive and ensured the flow of runs was not hampered.

The Chandigarh Lions received two early shocks when Imran Farhat (2) and Hamish Marshall (2) walked back to the pavilion within the first three overs. The dangerous Farhat was dismissed courtesy of a brilliant piece of fielding from Tamil Kumaran.

The early breakthroughs brought Tejinder Pal Singh (47) and Manish Sharma (36) to the crease and both played breezy knocks in order to restore control in the Lions innings. The duo added 70 runs for the third wicket and scored an invigorating rate. Sharma smashed three sixes in his innings and TP Singh struck one biggie.

A late flourish from Chetan Sharma (27) took the Lions to a middling total of 143 at the end. Tamil Kumaran (2/32) and Thiru Kumaran (2/31) continued to bowl in good rhythm and produced wickets at decisive stages for the Stuart Law-led team.

New-ball bowlers Ian Harvey (1/22) and Shabbir Ahmed (1/20) were as steady as ever and kept the run-rate under check all through the innings.

The Chandigarh Lions clash against the Mumbai Champs tomorrow and will try and confirm a semi-final berth. The Chennai Superstars, on the other hand will collide against the Hyderabad Heroes to complete the Sunday double-header.

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