Murali spins kings to semis
Muttiah Muralitharan led a disciplined spin attack as Chennai Super
Kings qualified for the Indian Premier League semi-finals with a 24-run
win over Kings XI Punjab here on Wednesday.
The Sri Lankan off-spinner finished with 2-8 off four overs as
Chennai restricted Punjab to 92-8 after posting 116-9.
Delhi (18 points) and Chennai (17) have made it to the semi-finals,
while Punjab await the result of Thursday’s match between Deccan and
Bangalore as the three teams now have 14 points apiece.
The top four sides advance to the semi-finals.
Defending champions Rajasthan Royals (13 points), Mumbai Indians (11)
and Kolkata (seven) are already out of the race.
Man-of-the-match Muralitharan was superbly backed by off-spinners
Suresh Raina (2-17) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-13). The trio conceded
only 38 runs off 12 overs.
Australian Luke Pomersbach top-scored with 26 in Punjab’s dismal
batting display in the last match.
Punjab earlier put in an impressive bowling performance to restrict
Chennai to a modest total, with fast bowlers Shanthakumaran Sreesanth
and Irfan Pathan taking two wickets apiece.
Australian paceman Brett Lee also prevented the Chennai batsmen from
scoring freely, conceding only 16 in his four overs.
Chennai added 40 for the opening wicket off just 4.5 overs through
India’s Parthiv Patel (32) and Australian George Bailey (15), but lost
their way after the openers’ dismissals. Raina was the other main scorer
Sreesanth got two wickets in three balls when he had Subramaniam
Badrinath (four) caught by Pathan at mid-on and then bowled skipper
Mahendra Singh Dhoni for two.
Pathan removed New Zealander Jacob Oram (17) and Ashwin (eight) to
finish with 2-32.
Chennai: 116-9 (P. Patel 32, S. Raina 20; S. Sreesanth 2-23, I.
Punjab 92-8 (L. Pomersbach 26; M. Muralitharan 2-8, R. Ashwin 2-13,
S. Raina 2-17, T. Thushara 2-28).DURBAN, (AFP) -