Trinidad and Tobago’s Lendl Simmons smashed a 44-ball 67 to guide Mumbai Indians to a challenging 173 for eight but it was still not enough to keep them in the title hunt as Chennai Super Kings eclipse the score reaching 176 for three to win the IPL eliminator at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, yesterday, by seven wickets.
Meanwhile, Sunil Narine’s Kolkata Knight Riders secured their place in the IPL final after a 28-run win over Kings XI Punjab in the first qualifier at Eden Gardens in Kolkata yesterday. The Knight Riders posted 163 for eight and restricted Punjab to 135 for eight. Kings XI will get another crack at reaching the final when they face Chennai in the final qualifier in Mumbai tomorrow.
In Mumbai yesterday, the 29-year old Simmons along with Michael Hussey (39 off 33 balls) provided the ideal start to the Mumbai innings when they were put into bat. The pair attacked Mohit Sharma in the sixth over, milking him for 19 runs, with the West Indian Simmons scoring the bulk—a four on extra cover, a six at mid-wicket and a four over point in consecutive balls.
Simmons, who has been in good form throughout the tournament hit five fours and four sixes. The Trinidadian, the only player to have scored a century this season, looked set for another big score but perished in the 17th over, caught at long on by Suresh Raina off Ravindra Jadeja.
In reply, Suresh Raina (54 not out off 33 balls) and David Hussey (40 not out off 29 balls) produced a decisive 86-run stand to see the Super Kings over the line. Chennai’s hopes were hanging in the balance somewhat when Brendan McCullum’s dismissal left them 89 for three at the midway point.
Raina and Hussey rose to the occasion, however, with the former smashing four fours and two sixes on his way a 32-ball 54 as Chennai overcame a shaky start to knock the defending champions out of the competition.
Dwayne Smith (24 off 20) and Faf du Plessis (35 off 20) had got the Chennai chase off to a brisk start with an opening stand of 60 before former India spinner Harbhajan Singh made a crucial breakthrough, sending both openers back to dugout in his first over.
West Indian Smith had hit four fours on his way to a 20-ball 24, but he was caught in the deep by compatriot Pollard as Singh came into the attack. When McCullum was stumped for just 14 the Super Kings were rocked, but Hussey came to join Raina and the international duo steadied the ship before leading the victory charge.
Mumbai Indians 173-8 (Lendl Simmons 67, Michael Hussey 39; Mohit Sharma 3/42) vs Chennai Super Kings 176-3 (18.4 overs) (Suresh Raina 54 n.o., David Hussey 40 n.o.; Harbhajan Singh 2/27)—Chennai won by 7 wickets
Kolkata Knight Riders 163-8 (Robin Uthappa 42; Karanveer Singh 3/40; Kings XI Punjab 135-8 (Wriddhiman Saha 35; Umesh Yadav 3/13)—Kolkata won by 28 runs