Champions League T20

Chennai the team to beat?

2010-09-16 08:50
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (File)
Centurion - Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings set themselves up as the team to beat in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament with a second successive crushing win on Wednesday.

After winning their opening Group A match against the Central Stags by 57 runs, Chennai outplayed Sri Lanka's Wayamba Elevens, winning by 97 runs in the second game of a double-header at SuperSport Park.

In the earlier match, Australia's Victoria Bushrangers beat the Stags by seven wickets with two balls to spare to turn Group A into a three-team contest for two semi-final places.

Chennai and South African champions the Warriors have both won two out of two, while it was the first win for Victoria, who lost their opening match against the Warriors.

Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay set up Wednesday's win for Chennai, putting on 137 in 12 overs for the second wicket to make a mockery of Wayamba's decision to field first.

Chennai piled up a tournament-best 200 for three and Wayamba could only manage 103 all out in reply.

Opening bowler Albie Morkel took three for 22 and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed four for 18.

Particularly encouraging for Chennai was that the players who starred on Wednesday were different from those who shone in the first game last Saturday.

The only concern for the Super Kings was the form of opening batsman Matthew Hayden, who followed a duck on Saturday with 10 on Wednesday.

But Chennai have not yet called on fellow Australian Mike Hussey, who sat on the bench during the first two games.

Dhoni praised Raina and Vijay for the way they set up the win against Wayamba.

He said Australian fast bowler Doug Bollinger, who claimed the key wicket of Mahela Jayawardene, was a key bowler.

"It's important to have a quick bowler in our side," he said. "But equally important was Albie Morkel, who has the knack of taking wickets."

Dhoni said his team wanted to win every match they played but added: "We always talk about not thinking too much about the result but about the process and preparing well."

Victoria's win was less easily earned.

The Stags made a challenging 165 for five, with captain Jamie How hitting an impressive 77 not out.

The Bushrangers needed 48 to win off the last four overs but opening batsman Aaron Finch saw them home, hitting a six off Doug Bracewell to seal victory. Finch finished with 93 not out, the highest score of the tournament so far.

Victoria captain David Hussey was happy to secure the win but said his bowlers needed to work on their bowling in the closing overs after conceding 117 in the final 10 overs of the Stags innings.

"We had massive problems at the end," he admitted.

It was a second successive defeat for New Zealand's Stags.

How said: "It was an improvement on our first game but it was a patchy performance."

The Stags travel to Port Elizabeth to play the Warriors on their home ground on Saturday, needing an exceptional effort to stay in contention.

Chennai meet Victoria in Saturday's late game.

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