Superstars storm into ICL semis
Russel Arnold with a well-made 69 and Shabbir Ahmed with his four wickets were the stars for their team as Chennai Superstars defeated Ahmedabad Rockets by 22 runs.
The track for the game was the same as the one used for the Lions vs Tigers game on the previous day & therefore was expected to be a slow and flat track.
Stuart Law won the toss and elected to bat. The Superstars won the match comprehensively beating the Rockets by 22runs. Russel Arnold was declared man of the match for his match winning innings of 69.
The Superstars opened the innings with the most explosive opening combination of the tournament in Ian Harvey & Vignesh. The combination however, did not fire off in this match as a result of Harvey's run out for 5, in the first over with only 8 runs on the board.
The Rockets came with an innovative approach of bowling the second over with their spinner Sriram & it delivered results immediately with the wily spinner castling the dangerous Vignesh causing a bit of bother for the formidable Superstars battling line up at 18/2. At the end of the 5th over, the Superstars were well placed at 47/2 with captain Law & Arnold holding ground.
Just when the repair work was looking good for the Superstars, Gillespie got the big breakthrough by packing Law back to the dugout for only 10. Martyn was using his bowling resources well & by the end of the 8th over, the Rockets certainly had the upper hand, restricting the Chennai total at 58/3.
Badani & Arnold were working a good partnership trying to build a platform for a final onslaught in the final 5 overs. By the 12th over, the Superstars were placed at 90/3 with a 42 runs partnership developing at that point between the two experienced left-handers.
Arnold brought about his 50 off only 42 balls with a boundary off Streak in the 17th over. With three overs to go the Superstars were all set for the big launch at 127/3. The massive partnership of 112 runs between Arnold & Badani helped the Chennai side reach 161/5 in their allotted 20overs.
In reply the Rockets came out with their explosive opener Hinds, in the company of his captain Damien Martyn to chase the stiff target of 162 on difficult wicket. The Superstars spearhead Shabbir struck early in the 3rd over sending Martyn backing the Rockets dugout for another low score of 7.
At the end of the 5th over, the Rockets were placed at 30/1. With the run out of Goodwin at 38/2, the Rockets were in big trouble in the 7th over needing another 123 runs at around 10 runs per over. Parvez Aziz one of the few batsmen who has looked good for the Rockets tried to get the scoring rate up, but was foxed by the Superstars spin spearhead Syed, for a well made 24.
With 5overs to go, the Rockets were faced with the daunting task of needing 54 runs at over 10 runs per over with 5 wickets in hand. The key for the Rockets was Sriram who was anchoring the innings in company of the experienced Heath Streak.
Law brought back his pace spearhead Shabbir Ahmed, who got the big wicket of Sriram in the 17th over, further diminishing the chances of a Rockets victory. In the end it proved to be a too tall a target for the Rockets' lower middle order batsmen, falling short of the target by 22runs.