Chennai finalise semis line-up
The Chennai Super Kings have booked an Indian Premier League semi-final against the Kings XI Punjab, winning their final round-robin match against Deccan Chargers, in Hyderabad, by seven wickets.
The Super Kings needed victory to assure their place, but they were made to sweat by the Chargers, who had lost 11 of their previous 13 matches in the eight-team competition.
Deccan posted 8-147, with Chennai reached their victory target only when Suresh Raina clubbed a straight six from the second ball of the final over.
The Super Kings now travel to Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, where they play on Sunday (EST)for the opportunity to play in the first Indian Premier League final.
Top-ranked Rajasthan Royals, captained and coached by Shane Warne, and featuring former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson, will play Delhi Daredevils, featuring Glenn McGrath, in the first semi-final on Saturday.
The Chargers laboured to their total, with Venugopal Rao (46) and Dwaraka Ravi Teja (40) leading another recovery mission after the top order again failed to deliver.
Adam Gilchrist did little to bolster the Chargers' total in his last match, out for 5 after skying a catch in the deep to Abhinav Mukund from the bowling of Manpreet Gony.
Herschelle Gibbs also fell cheaply, for 8, before Scott Styris's run-a-ball innings of 20 was ended when he slogged across the line and was bowled by Muttiah Muralidaran.
Rao and Ravi Teja then combined for a 76-run stand from 50 balls to help set a competitive total.
Parthiv Patel and Stephen Fleming got the Super Kings off to a quick start, making 20 and 14 repsectively, and the visitors needed a manageable 33 from 28 balls when captain M.S. Dhoni was caught for 37 at long-off by Gibbs from the bowling of Pragyan Ojha.
Tight bowling from Styris loosened the Super Kings' grip on the game, but Raina remained a steady presence.
The India left-hander found the boundary regularly enough to keep his side in control of the game before supplying the killer blow in the final over, smashing a straight six off spinner Paidikalva Vijaykumar.