Suresh Raina smashed an unbeaten half-century as Chennai Super Kings booked a berth in the second qualifier with a comfortable seven-wicket win over title holders Mumbai Indians in the IPL eliminator in Mumbai.
The two-time champion, Chennai comfortably managed to overhaul Mumbai’s 173 with eight balls to spare at the Brabourne Stadium to set up a meeting with Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
Raina, the only player to score 400 runs in all the IPL seasons, scored a quick-fire 33-ball 54 which was laced with four fours and two sixes. He was ably supported by David Hussey, who also remained unconquered on 40 off 29 balls.
Earlier, Lendl Simmons smashed a 44-ball 67 to help Mumbai post a challenging 173 for eight in their stipulated 20 overs.
Chennai began their run chase by scoring at a brisk pace. Openers Dwayne Smith and Faf du Plessis laid a strong foundation by scoring 60 runs off just 38 balls.
But Mumbai wrested the momentum when veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh dismissed the two in the seventh over. Smith struck four fours in his 20-ball 24, including three consecutive ones off Jasprit Bumrah before being caught on long on by fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard.
South African du Plessis, who was given a reprieve while he was on 16 following a misunderstanding between Habhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu, scored 35 off 20 balls. His breezy knock was laced with five fours and a six.
They were further reduced when they lost New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum at a score of 87, three overs later. McCullum struck two sixes in his 11-ball 14 before being stumped off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.
One-down batsman Raina and Hussey did the repair job and the duo carted the bowlers all over the park to comfortably guide their team to victory.
The duo smashed Ojha for 20 runs in the 16th over, with Hussey scoring two sixes over long on and Raina followed it with another in the same region, to virtually seal the match in their favour.
Harbhajan Singh was the pick of the bowlers, grabbing two wickets for 27 runs.
Earlier, 29-year-old Simmons provided the ideal start to the defending champions along with Michael Hussey when they were put into bat by Mahendra Singh Dhoni after winning the toss.
The duo piled on 76 runs in 58 balls before left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja shattered Hussey’s stumps. The pair attacked Mohit Sharma in the sixth over, milking him for 19 runs, with the West Indian Simmons scoring the bulk – a four through extra cover, a six at mid-wicket and a four over point in consecutive balls.
The veteran Australian also looked in good touch and struck four fours and a six in his 33-ball 39. New Zealand all rounder Corey Anderson, who came one down, couldn’t do much damage but his cameo of 20 runs off just eight deliveries consisted of a four and two sixes.
Simmons, who has been in good form throughout the tournament hit the bowlers all around the park and his 71 minutes stay at the crease yielded 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 while trying to hit a big shot and was caught at long on continued…