Chennai Super Kings win Champions League


Murali Vijay and Mike Hussey cracked sparkling half-centuries each as Chennai Super Kings were crowned the Champions League Twenty20 winners after an eight-wicket victory over Warriors in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Vijay (58 off 53 balls), who was let off when on 34, hit his third half-century of the tournament while the other opener, Hussey, played sheet anchor and remained not out on 51 as Chennai chased down the small target of 129 with an over to spare.

Earlier, spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (3/16) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/16) shared five wickets as Chennai restricted Warriors to 128 for seven after the South African champion side elected to bat at the New Wanderers stadium.

Vijay underlined his emergence as a fine Twenty20 batsman by becoming the highest run-getter of the tournament, with 294 runs from six matches, eight more than Warriors' captain Davy Jacobs.

Vijay's 53-ball innings was studded with six fours and two sixes, while Hussey hit only three fours off 46 balls in his unbeaten knock.

Chennai were richer by $2.5 millions for winning the second edition of the tournament, their second crown in five months, after their IPL triumph in April. Warriors received $1.3 million for finishing runners-up. The grand finale of the multi-dollar tournament, however, turned out to be a lopsided match with the Warriors bowlers failing to make any impact on the batsmen of the opposition who had beaten them in their last Group A league fixture four days ago.

The total of 128 was too small to defend and Chennai was always in control of the run chase though it got a bit tight with Suresh Raina, who was mainly responsible for Chennai's semi-final win against Royal Challengers Bangalore with an aggressive 94, out cheaply for just two.

Hussey and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17 not out), however, held nerve to pull off the win with a 25-run partnership for the unbroken third wicket.

Dhoni hit the winning runs -- a four off Juan Theron -- as Chennai scored 132 for two in 19 overs.

Vijay and Hussey did not need to take too much risk as they ran mostly singles in their 103-run opening wicket stand in front of a capacity crowd.

Vijay lived dangerously on a couple of occasions, an edge from his bat flying past wicket-kepeer Mark Boucher and Justin Kreusch for a four. He was also lucky to survive in the ninth over as wicketkeeper Mark Boucher missed a simple stumping chance off the bowling of Nicky Boje when on 34.

But he made amends for these lapses later and struck some fine shots, including two sixes off Nicky Boje.

Vijay fell to Boje in the 15th over after taking his side to the threshold of victory.

Earlier, Muralitharan snapped three wickets as Chennai restricted Warriors to 128 for seven.

Muralitharan, who took three for 16, got able support from his spin colleague Ashwin (2/16) as Chennai restricted the Warriors to a meagre total.

Pacers Dough Bollinger and Albie Morkel bagged a wicket each while Laxmipathy Balaji was unsuccessful.

Ashwin ended as tournament highest wicket-taker, with 13 from six matches, one more from Muralitharan. He also was named the man of the tournament.

Jacobs (34) continued with his terrific form in the tournament with some lusty strokes and his side looked like to post a big total by racing to 39 runs at the end of the fourth over before they lost their way later.

Jacobs treated Chennai opening bowler Dough Bollinger with disdain, hitting him for two consecutive fours and another two boundaries in the second over of the same bowler to get the innings off to a flier.

Jacobs also gave the same treatment to the other bowler, Albie Morkel, hitting him for three fours.

The other opening batsman, Ashwell Prince, however, continued his struggling form as he was out to Bollinger for a mere six and Warriors' score of 39 for one.

Skipper Dhoni's shrewd move to introduce off-spinner Ashwin also paid dividends as he removed the dangerous-looking Jacobs in the sixth over as the IPL side put brakes on the South African champion team.

Jacobs's aggressive 34 came from 21 balls and was studded with eight fours.

The run-rate slowed down with the introduction of Balaji, who got a bit of swing from the Wanderers pitch, and spin wizard Muralitharan, as Warriors scored just 19 runs from the four overs from seventh to 10th.

Colin Ingram (16) fell victim to Morkel in the 11th over while trying to up the run rate before Muralitharan put the Warriors in trouble by claiming two wickets in the 14th over.

Veteran Mark Boucher (5) was deceived by a beautiful Muralitharan delivery which got the turn to beat the batsman's bat before crashing into the stumps.

Four balls later, Justin Kreusch (17) charged out to hit a Muralitharan delivery only to chip it to Suresh Raina at mid-wicket and Warriors were 82 for five then.

In the 17th over, Craig Thyssen took 18 runs from Balaji with the help of a six and a four, but any threat of death over the run riot was cut short with Ashwin snapping Johan Botha's wicket.

Thyssen was the only other Warriors batsman besides Jacobs to give some resistance to the CSK bowlers with a 18-ball 25 which he made with the help of three fours and a six before being out in the last over.

The scores:

Eastern Cape Warriors: D. Jacobs lbw b Ashwin 34 (21b, 8x4), A. Prince b Bollinger 6 (9b), C. Ingram c Raina b Morkel 16 (23b, 1x4), J. Kreusch c Raina b Muralitharan 17 (17b, 1x4), M. Boucher b Muralitharan 5 (11b), J. Botha c Anirudha b Ashwin 7 (10b), C. Thyssen c Anirudha b Muralitharan 25 (18b, 3x4, 1x6), N. Boje (not out) 8 (10b), J. Theron (not out) 2 (1b), Extras (lb-4, w-4) 8. Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs) 128.

Fall of wickets: 1-39, 2-45, 3-73, 4-81, 5-82, 6-111, 7-125.

Chennai bowling: Bollinger 4-0-33-1, Morkel 4-0-31-1, Ashwin 4-0-16-2, Balaji 4-0-28-0, Muralitharan 4-0-16-3.

Chennai Super Kings: M. Hussey (not out) 51 (46b, 3x4), M. Vijay c Kreusch b Boje 58 (53b, 6x4, 2x6), S. Raina c Botha b Ntini 2 (3b), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 17 (12b, 2x4, 1x6), Extras (lb-1, w-3) 4; Total (for two wkts. in 19 overs) 132.

Fall of wickets: 1-103, 2-107.

Warriors bowling: Ntini 4-0-30-1, Tsotsobe 3-0-14-0, Theron 4-0-40-0, Botha 4-0-18-0, Boje 4-0-29-1 .