Mumbai: MS Dhoni spun his magic wand to take the Chennai Super Kings to the finals of the IPL by thrashing the Deccan Chargers by 38 runs at the DY Patil Stadium on Thursday.
The Super Kings will now face the Mumbai Indians in the final at the same venue on Sunday while Deccan will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Saturday for a spot in the Champions League.
Defending a modest 142, Chennai turned the semi-final on its head by putting up an inspired performance in the field after a disappointing show with the bat. Deccan's sharp bowling effort went in vain as their batting crumbled to be bowled out for 104 on a tricky pitch.
Doug Bollinger was the hero for Chennai with figures of four for 13. The Aussie pacer along with Ravinchandran Ashwin gave away only 30 runs in the first six overs with Adam Gilchrist (15 off 20) back in the hut. The chase was always going to be steep from there after such a sedate start.
Gilchrist once again fell cheaply and his dismissal put pressure on the Deccan batting. Deccan, who won five games in a row to make it to the semis, crumbled from there with Tirumalsetti Suman (four), Rohit Sharma (two) and Herschelle Gibbs (18) falling in quick succession.
Andrew Symonds (23 off 22) was Deccan's last hope with the asking-rate around 12 in the final five overs. The Aussie smashed Shadab Jakati for 17 runs in 15th over before holing out in the deep to Ashwin in the next. The game was going only one way from there with Chennai ensuring no miracles from the Deccan lower order.
Earlier, Subramanium Badrinath's gritty 37 off 41 balls was the cornerstone of the Chennai innings. And Anirudha Srikkanth's late flourish with the bat took them to 142-7.
Matthew Hayden's stay in the middle was short but not short of extraordinary as he kept going for ambitious shots and Deccan kept on grassing sitters. Two dollies were dropped within a space of ten balls before Symonds pouched one to send back his former Australia team mate for eight.
Murali Vijay then stepped up the accelerator by smashing a six and a boundary and just when he was looking dangerous, Ryan Harris trapped him with leg before for 15. Harris was the pick of the bowlers, giving away only eight runs in his first two overs that yielded the Chennai openers.
The in-form Suresh Raina fell cheaply for once as Chennai were on the mat at 29-3 in five overs. It took a patient 52-run stand from Subramanium Badrinath and MS Dhoni (30 off 32) to revive the Chennai innings. But just when the Super Kings looked to up the ante, Harmeet Singh picked the wicket of Dhoni against the run of play.
Albie Morkel was the lone big-hitter left in the ranks, but he could only manage one boundary in his run-a-ball four. Srikkanth, however, bludgeoned two sixes in the final two overs to lift the Super Kings to a total that was more than enough to set their clash up with the Mumbai team.