Raina stuns Bangalore to power Chennai into final

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					       Raina stuns Bangalore to power Chennai into final


How did Chennai win this? How did Bangalore lose this? Chennai always seemed to be lagging
behind but surged like a tidal wave towards the end, with the odd run-filled over now and then,
to storm into their third IPL final in four seasons. At the forefront was the feisty Suresh Raina,
who pulled out the big shots through the latter half of the chase to set up an improbable win. The
defeat makes Bangalore's path to the final - and beyond - tougher. They will have to win the
second Qualifier on Saturday, if they are to meet Chennai in the final at the MA Chidambaram
stadium, where the hosts have been unbeaten all season.

                                                               Bangalore will look back and rue
                                                               at a few poor overs. There were
                                                               full tosses and length deliveries
                                                               galore and Chennai capitalised in
                                                               some style. Virat Kohli bowled a
                                                               slew of full tosses in the ninth over
                                                               to leak 16 runs, and Abhimanyu
                                                               Mithun kept bowling length
                                                               deliveries in the 13th over,
                                                               bleeding 23 runs. It included a
                                                               fabulously carved six over the
                                                               covers as Raina went down on a
                                                               bent knee, to follow his muscled
                                                               heave over long-off. Even then,
                                                               the equation - 82 from 42 balls -
                                                               seemed a tough proposition and it
                                                               got tighter when it came down to
                                                               58 from 24. Chris Gayle had led
                                                               from front with a parsimonious
                                                               spell that read 4-0-19-0 as he fired
                                                               in the skidders and the occasional
                                                               yorker to pin down Chennai.

But Raina wasn't done yet, and he ramped it up style in the 17th over, from Zaheer Khan, who
had been exemplary in his opening three-over spell. Raina's two sixes over midwicket, a
thumping pull and a clubbed swing, were sandwiched by a bottom-hand powered six over wide
long-on by MS Dhoni, who however fell in the same over. Zaheer went for 20 runs in that over
and Chennai had well and truly seized the momentum.

More agony awaited Bangalore in the 19th over, bowled by S Aravind. Albie Morkel crashed a
slower ball over long-on and clubbed a full toss over long-off before Raina killed another full
toss over the midwicket boundary. That 21-run over left Chennai needing 12 off the final over by
Daniel Vettori and Morkel dragged a four to wide long-on, before walloping the fourth ball over
midwicket to win the contest.
Until those frenetic end overs, Bangalore were well on their way to becoming the first team to
enter the final. The big question before the game was whether Bangalore would deflate like
cheap party balloons if Gayle went out early. They answered that in an emphatic manner, as
Kohli powered them to a competitive total.

Bangalore were in danger of slipping into free-fall after Gayle fell cheaply, trapped by R
Aswhin, but Kohli and Luke Pomersbach ensured they stayed afloat. While Kohli batted with
calculated aggression, Pomersbach counterattacked, taking 17 runs in the 15th over, off Dwayne
Bravo. A murderous heave to wide long-on, a slash to third man and a flat six over midwicket
were the highlights. Kohli, though, was the person who sculpted and shaped Bangalore's innings.
Two shots in particular reflected the assurance in his knock. In the 13th over, he sashayed back
to a back-of-length delivery from Raina to unfurl a peachy punch to the cover-point boundary.
Then, off the final ball of the 16th over, he leaned forward to play a classy lofted whip over wide
long-on Ashwin. He went on to produce two more screaming sixes - over long-on and covers -
off Morkel in the 19th over, to push Bangalore to a good total but Raina decided to gatecrash the
party.

				
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posted:5/25/2011
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