Millennium Post

DD trampled as CSK storms into IPL V finals

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings stormed into the final of the Indian Premier League with an emphatic 86-run victory over Delhi Daredevils, riding on Murali Vijay's breathtaking 58-ball 113 in what turned out to be a lopsided contest here tonight.

Vijay produced the fastest century of this edition as CSK piled up an imposing 222 for five and then bundled out Delhi for 136 to keep themselves on course for their third consecutive titles. They will take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the summit showdown at the same venue on Sunday.

Vijay reached his century off a mere 51 balls and by the time he was run out on the last ball of CSK innings, the right-hander had helped his team to an imposing total, which was also this season's highest. The victory margin at the M A Chidambaram Stadium was also the highest in terms of runs.

This was Vijay's second century in IPL, the most by an Indian player.

Chasing a daunting total, the Daredevils, who surprisingly benched spearhead Morne Morkel in their biggest match of the tournament, buckled under pressure.

Vijay, who reached his century when he flicked Varun Aaron off his pads behind square, also ensured the two-time champions reach the title clash of the cash-rich league for a record fourth time.

Vijay bludgeoned 15 fours -- 13 of which had come before his hundred -- and four sixes after Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag invited the hosts to bat on winning the toss.

CSK were off to a rousing start with Vijay finding the ropes with consummate ease on what seemed like a good track for batting.

The local boy was well-supported by Michael Hussey who contributed with 20 off 22 balls before Aaron had the Aussie caught behind by Naman Ojha.

But Vijay was his usual self as he continued his onslaught that left the Delhi attack demoralised.

Vijay brought up his fifty with a crisp boundary through the covers in the same over Hussey got out.

After kick-starting CSK's innings with a boundary off unheralded offspinner Sunny Gupta -- a surprise choice and playing in his first-ever IPL match -- Vijay did not look back, hammering the Daredevils bowlers with utter disdain.

Gupta, who was asked to bowl the very first over by Sehwag, conceded 12 runs. And there was no looking back for CSK.

If Vijay had put on 68 runs for the first wicket with Hussey in just 8.1 overs, his second-wicket stand of 69 with Suresh Raina consumed only 33 deliveries.

After his frontline bowlers were taken to the task, Sehwag tried his hand at checking the flow of runs, but to no avail.

Vijay, well-set by then, smashed Sehwag for 21 runs with the help of two fours and two sixes.

After Raina got out to left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni continued the assault and it did not end even with his dismissal, as Dwayne Bravo produced another blinder of an innings.

While Dhoni smashed 23 off 10 balls, innings that also included his trademark helicopter shot, Bravo remained unbeaten on 33 off 12 with the help of three fours and two sixes. He hit Aaron for two sixes and as many fours in the innings' penultimate over.

Both batsmen were coming off after their match-winning efforts in the eliminator against Mumbai Indians.

The Delhi attack lacked sting, with Aaron and Gupta conceding a staggering 110 runs in their seven overs. While Aaron was smashed for 63, Gupta conceded 47 runs in his three overs.

Umesh Yadav deserves a mention as he bowled a measly spell of 1/27 off four overs -- creditable considerable the onslaught.

After being at the receiving end for 20 overs, DD needed a start like CSK. But that was not to be as they lost David Warner and Sehwag with just 22 on the board.

Jayawardene tried to rescue the team and, along with Ross Taylor, put on 52 runs for the third wicket in just under five overs.

Taylor, however, after hitting a couple of sixes and a four, holed out to Raina in the deep.

Andre Russell and Naman Ojha did not last long as CSK inched towards another win in a do-or-die match.

Meanwhile, Jayawardene reached his half century in style, hitting Ravichandran Ashwin over wide long-on for a maximum.

The elegant veteran from Sri Lanka, enroute his fifty, and it came off just 31 balls.

The early loss of Warner and Sehwag, though, put too much pressure on the Daredevils and they struggled after that.

And when Aswhin bowled Jaywardene with a carrom ball, the match was as good as over.

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