It is not often that both contestants of a sporting encounter celebrate at the end of a match. That strange sight was on offer in Port Elizabeth after Chennai Super Kings prevailed over Warriors in a tense Champions League Twenty20 match, paving the way for both teams to reach the semi-finals at the expense of Victoria. Chennai's chances seemed to have evaporated after they stumbled to 136 after choosing to bat in a must-win match, but on a spin-friendly track their strategy of packing the team with slow bowlers paid off and they tenaciously defended that total to set up an all-Indian Premier League semi-final against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Warriors had five bowlers with international experience in their line-up but it was the sixth, medium-pacer Justin Kreusch, who made the biggest impact against Chennai. Kreusch's no-frills wicket-to-wicket bowling fetched him three wickets and ruined the platform Chennai's openers, Michael Hussey and M Vijay, had constructed. It left Warriors facing what should have been a gettable target. Chennai's openers had made a rock-solid start, setting up their side for what should have been a far more challenging target. Vijay was the dominant partner in a 63-run stand. He usually scores heavily on the leg-side in Twenty20s, and today's innings was an exclusively on-side effort barring his first runs which came off a carve past point. Hussey was more circumspect early on, knocking the singles around - his first stroke of aggression came in the fifth over, charging down and lofting Lonwabo Tsotsobe towards long-on.
A powerful reverse-sweep for four followed off Nicky Boje, before he started peppering his favourite midwicket region. There were only two dot balls in his final 21 deliveries, as he pushed Chennai to a strong position. His dismissal, however, sandwiching those of Raina and S Badrinath to Kreusch, looked to have derailed Chennai, but Warriors failed to reach their target of 136. * Agency