Chennai: David Warner stunned the Chennai Super Kings, smashing an unbeaten century, as New South Wales Blues dumped the reigning champions out with a 46-run win on Tuesday that also ensured their own progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20.
The home side was helpless as Warner let loose at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, his 135* featuring 11 fours and 8 big sixes, including one that sailed right out of the ground. Riding on his sensational knock, NSW posted a massive 201/2, and Chennai - needing to win in 17 overs in order to qualify from Group A - fell miserably short, all out for 155 in 18.5 overs.
MS Dhoni's men had come into the match still in with a chance of making it to the last-four, after Trinidad and Tobago had defeated the Cape Cobras by two wickets in the earlier group game. T&T's win had already assured one IPL side - Mumbai Indians - of qualification. However, while a victory would have been enough for NSW, Chennai needed to win in a way that their run-rate would be better than T&T, the very team they had lost to in their previous match.
Chasing a daunting target of 202 would have been tough even without the 17-over constraint, though Michael Hussey got Chennai off to a positive start as the fifty came up in the sixth over without the loss of a wicket. However, it all started to go downhill for CSK after that, as Hussey (37) was unfortunately ruled out leg-before to Stuart Clark (2/34), while fellow opener Murali Vijay (18) followed soon, bowled out by spinner Steve O'Keefe (3/28).
The impressive O'Keefe then picked up Suresh Raina, who had hit one six and five fours in a breezy 28 to give Chennai some hope. Skipper MS Dhoni (2) was out on the next ball by Moises Henriques, leaving Chennai reeling at 88/4 at the half-way stage of their innings.
The pressure of the climbing asking rate proved too much to handle after that, and regular wickets ensured Chennai were never in the reckoning. Warner, meanwhile, followed up his stunning batting performance with an equally impressive stint in the field, taking the catches to dismiss Dwayne Bravo (16) and Nuwan Kulasekara (18), while also running out Wriddhiman Saha for a duck.
Doug Bollinger (17) and Kulasekara did manage to take Chennai past the 150-run mark, but Mitchell Starc (2/21) dismissed both the men to seal his side's win in the 19th over.
Earlier, it was a Warner show through and through, after NSW won the toss and elected to bat.
Shane Watson (21) began the attack for the Australians, brining up the fifty by the fifth over, as he and Warner gave NSW the perfect start.
Chennai got their first breakthrough after Watson tried to slog R Ashwin, but only ended up top-edging it to the wicket-keeper.
Warner then took over, mixing some orthodox shots with switch-hits and slogs, as he bludgeoned the Chennai attack.
He was given a reprieve in the 10th over, though, when he was dropped by Shadab Jakati off Dwayne Bravo.
The dropped chance proved extremely costly for Chennai as the Aussie opener, displaying ominous form, first plundered Bollinger for a six and a four in the 13th over, and then accumulated 15 runs off Jakati in the next over, courtesy a six and two fours.
He put on a second-wicket stand of 101 runs in just 10.5 overs with Steven Smith (31), who played the perfect foil as Warner blazed away at the other end. Warner eventually reached his second T20 century off just 69 balls with a single in the 18th over.
Only Ashwin and Kulasekara conceded less than 10 runs an over, and they were the only CSK bowlers to pick up a wicket as well. Bollinger, who plays for NSW in the Australian domestic circuit, came in for special treatment, going for 48 runs in his three overs, including a 20-run final over.
The blistering innings knocked the wind out of Chennai, and though they tried hard, they eventually fell short by 46 runs in the end.
The result means NSW and Mumbai Indians have qualified for the semi-finals from Group A, after having collected six and five points respectively at the end of their league engagements.
Defending champions Chennai could only win one out of their four group matches - the worst record for any team in the tournament - and finished at the bottom of the five-team group.
Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago also failed to qualify, ending with four points after their win over the Cape Cobras, who finished with three points.
(With agency inputs)