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Lions beat Superstars by four runs

In what was probably the match of the ICL till date, the Chandigarh Lion beat Chennai Superstars by four runs off the very last ball of the twenty overs in their ICL T-20 encounter.

Needing five runs for a win, Superstars batsman Vasanth Saravanan smashed Andrew Hall to mid-off for what looked like a possible boundary till former New Zealand test star Lou Vincent threw himself and all but caught the ball and threw it back to the bowler to end the Superstars chase. Saraanan scored 33 runs off 19 balls to take his team very close to victory.

The Superstars who required 16 runs off the last two overs, messed things up in the penultimate over as first Syed Mohammed and then Thiru Kumaran fell to rash shots instead of taking a single and handing the strike to the big hitting Vasanth Saravanan. Left to score 13 off the last over, Saravanan smacked a bouncer from Andrew Hall to the deep-fine leg.

Two more singles later, disaster struck again when Saravanan pushed the fourth delivery to mid-off and took a single. The batsman at the other end Adam Parore tried to take another run and was run-out.

The match, which seemed to be virtually over for the Superstars when Chris Cairns led the Lions to 195 runs off their 20 overs, returned to life right at the start of the second innings and kept oscillating between the two sides. When Ian Harvey went in 16th over, it once again looked all over bar the shouting though Vasanth Saravanan had other ideas.

The Chennai Superstars, who scored a tournament high of 187 runs against the Kolkata Tigers last week, remained in the hunt throughout their innings, despite losing wickets at regular intervals, including two in the sixth over and two more between the 13th and 15th over of Hemang Badani and captain Stuart Law. For the Lions, Daryl Tuffey set a dubious record of giving away 55 runs off his four overs, the highest ever in the Indian Cricket League.

Harvey, who began slowly came into his own following the dismissal of Satish as he blasted six boundaries and three sixes to score 58 runs off 37 deliveries. He was taken by Lou Vincent at deep mid-off trying another six off left arm spinner Dinesh Mongia, who finished with two for 32 off his four overs.

The Chennai Superstars began the big chase in right earnest with Ganapati Vignesh blasting 42 runs off 22 balls with four boundaries and three sixes. He put on 55 runs with Ian Harvey in which the latter's contribution was a meagre 13 runs. The Lions made it a double blow by removing Russel Arnold who could not beat a direct throw from Andrew Hall to be run-out off the very next ball.

However, the Lions' joy was short-lived as Rajagopal Satish came in and immediately started deftly placing the ball to all corners of the ground to score a quickfire 23 off just 12 balls with five boundaries. He was ably supported by Harvey who kept taking the single to push the strike back to Satish. The Superstars got to 103 runs in the tenth over itself.

Earlier, the Chandigarh Lions openers Lou Vincent and Mathew Elliot seemed to be men in a hurry as they smashed 63 runs for the first wicket off just five overs before Elliot was caught by Harvey off Thiru Kumaran. Elliot made 22 runs off just 13 balls with four hits to the boundary.

Thereafter, there was a minor collapse as Manish Sharma. Tejinder Singh and Dinesh Mongia and Vincent fell in quick succession for the addition of just 20 runs. While Sharma fell to Kumaran, the other three were claimed by the left arm spin of Syed Mohammed, who returned figures of three for 36 off his four overs.

The Lions, who were tottering at 83 for five after 10 overs, found their saviors in captain Chris Cairns, who got together with Chetan Sharma. The duo put on 78 runs off just 6.3 overs as the Superstars tried in vain to stop the carnage. Cairns was obviously the aggressor scoring 67 runs off just 32 balls while Chetan kept him company with a 14-ball 18 runs.

Of the Superstars bowlers, Thiru Kumaran was the best taking three wickets for 27 runs, while the rest of their bowlers had to deal with a marauding Cairns and went for plenty. Shabbir Ahmed and Ian Harvey were the worst hit going for 45 and 39 respectively off their four overs.

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