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Super Kings crush Royal Challengers to retain IPL title

Murali VijayChennai, May 29 : Powered by a century partnership between openers Michael Hussey (63, 45 balls) and Murali Vijay (95, 52 balls) followed by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's three-wicket haul, the Chennai Super Kings strolled to a 58-run win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final of the Indian Premier League at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium here Saturday.

The Super Kings, in retaining the trophy, outclassed the Royal Challengers after making 205 for five and then checking the visitors to 147 for eight to cap an eight-match winning streak at home this season.

As well as Vijay and Hussey batted to provide a great launch pad for the Super Kings, it was Ashwin's dismissal of the two danger batsmen, Chris Gayle (0) and Mayank Agarwal (10), by the third over that turned the tide firmly in favour of the hosts.

Virat Kohli (35 off 32) offered some resistance, but his exit in the 10th over, virtually ended the Bangalore challenge that Saturday night was not good enough to trouble the Super Kings, who did just about everything right on the field.

Late in the innings, Saurabh Tiwary (42 not out) only delayed the inevitable as the Super Kings dropped a couple of catches.

Gayle, in his brief stay, never looked comfortable, unable to fathom the turn and bounce that Ashwin extracted, and the Jamaican powerhouse lasted a mere three balls before thin-edging to Dhoni.

In his next over, Ashwin struck again, rattling Mayank Agarwal's off-stump with a straight delivery and the Royal Challengers were reeling at 16 for two in the third over.

Kohli and A. B. de Villiers put together a 32-run stand for the third wicket, but the South African, not in best of form this season, departed, missing a pull off left-arm spinner Jakati and trapped plumb in front.

Jakati struck another blow in his next over, accepting a simple return catch from a clueless Luke Pomersbach who lead-edged, playing for the turn that wasn't quite there.

With four gone for just 62 in the ninth over, the Royal Challengers were staring at defeat and even more so when Kohli fell leg before to Suresh Raina, while skipper Daniel Vettori was dismissed in the next over, offering an easy catch to Ashwin.

The Royal Challengers never recovered from these body blows despite some late blitz by Tiwary as the Super Kings then cleaned up the tail to author a memorable victory that was founded on the Vijay-Hussey classic.

It was one of the finest batting exhibitions in the IPL this season as both Vijay and Hussey complemented each other, both in shot making and running hard between the wickets.

The run-making was a glorious mix of power hitting, elegant strokes and some deft placements, as the pair, with just two half-century partnerships this season, prospered, growing in confidence all the time.

It was not long before Hussey and Vijay opened up with a series of well-timed sixes and the Super Kings had the early momentum they had missed in the previous games.

The Royal Challengers bowling and fielding flagged as the runs flowed freely and at a good clip. Neither Hussey nor Vijay were unduly hassled on a pitch that afforded true bounce, but very little lateral movement.

For all their dominance, the Super Kings openers stuck to the basics, taking the singles and twos when presented even as they peppered the ropes to provide their team a solid platform.

The heat and humidity eventually got to the batsmen as first Hussey departed, holing out in the deep in the 15th over with the score reading 159. Skipper M. S. Dhoni then played a cameo while Vijay too left, out to a tired shot, just five short of a century.

Thereafter, left-arm seamer Sreenath Aravind picked up two wickets off consecutive balls before Gayle emulated that feat in the final over only to see his West Indian counterpart Dwayne Bravo slamming a six off the last ball to put 200 on the board and the Super Kings firmly in the saddle.(IANS)


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