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Atapattu guides Jets to semi-finals

The Delhi Jets have joined the Chennai Superstars and Chandigarh Lions as the third team to qualify into the semi-final stages of the ICL Indian 20:20 Championship.

Marvan Atapattu scored an unbeaten 64 to guide his team achieve the challenging target of 174 with four balls to spare.

Atapattu played a skipper’s knock, an uncharacteristic one, since he isn’t known to hit the big sixes. The former Sri Lankan captain smashed two of the biggest sixes of the match to literally hand the knockout punch to the Chennai Superstars. Paul Nixon (18 not out) came in and added a bit of flair at the end to ensure there were no hiccups towards the end.

Towards the closing stages, Nixon smashed one back to Kumaran and the bowler claimed to have taken a low catch but the third umpire gave his verdict in favour of the batting side.

In-form openers Taufeeq Umar (20) and Mohnish Mishra (37) got the Jets off to a terrific start, taking the total to 62 in just five overs. The duo plundered six boundaries and three sixes to decimate new ball bowlers Jesuraj, Tamil Kumaran and Harvey’s figures.

Thiru Kumaran gave a glimmer of hope to his team when he dismissed Umar and Mishra in his very first over. The dismissal brought the veteran combination of Atapattu and Abbas Ali to the middle. The pair added 47 runs for the third-wicket to virtually seal the victory, especially since lusty hitters of the caliber of JP Yadav, Paul Nixon and Dale Benkenstein were to follow.

Ganapathi Vignesh captained the Chennai-based team in the absence of regular captain Stuart Law. Sent in to bat by Marvan Attapattu, Superstars openers got their team off to a flying start with Ian Harvey and G Vignesh adding 32 runs in 3.1 overs. Abid Nabi got the first wicket for the Delhi team when he had Vignesh, who attempted and overambitious shot and was caught by Taduri Sudhindra at mid on.

Harvey and Chris Read continued belting the Jets bowlers and even after their 34-run partnership broken, the scoring rate did not dip.

Ali Murtaza combined well with wicketkeeper Paul Nixon to send back Hemang Badani and Sathish, both stumped, in quick successions but that did not stop the Chennai batsmen from continuing with their assault.

Sixes and fours kept on flowing from the bat even as the Delhi Jets desperately tried for the wickets as they know that a loss in the match will knock them out of the tournament.

Vasanth Sarvanan (20 not out) and Sriram Sridharan (six not out) finally took the Superstars to their final score.

Read top scored for the Superstars scoring 37 off 35 balls with the help of a six and three fours while Murtaza (two wickets), Nabi and Dale Benkenstein with one apiece were among the wickets.

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