Sathish heroics power Superstars to victory
Chennai Superstars 167 (Sathish 51) beat Kolkata Tigers 74 (Sathish 2-8, Harvey 2-12) by 93 runs
Chennai Superstars steamrolled past Kolkata Tigers by 93 runs to book their place in the final on Sunday. The Tigers' 74 was the lowest team total while the margin of victory achieved by the Superstars was the biggest [in terms of runs].
Chasing 168 for victory, the Tigers, who had lost to the Superstars during the round-robin phase, never looked to be in the race as none of their batsmen could find their feet. Ironically, the individual performances that had carried the Tigers to the semi-final were completely missing on Friday evening.
Unlike the two valuable partnerships the Superstars rode on, first between Chris Read and Ian Harvey and then between the Man-of-the-Match R Sathish and V Sarvanan, the Tigers didn't seem to have a plan to counterattack the opposition's disciplined bowling. They failed to recover from the sedate start and even the likes of Darren Maddy, Craig McMillan and Lance Klusener couldn't help them out of the mess. The Superstars, who had failed to defend scores in their previous two games, cashed in on the Tigers' uncertainty and discomfort, with five of its six bowlers bagging at least a wicket.
Earlier, Harvey and Read had given the Superstars a good start, adding 50 runs off 4.5 overs for the second wicket. Read hit a flurry of boundaries. and just when the Superstars were looking ominous, the Tigers seized the initiative with four quick wickets.
Harvey was beaten by the pace of Abu Nechim, who troubled the batsmen on a skiddy pitch. Read then got a dubious lbw decision off Sujay Tarafdar: the ball cut in but seemed to be missing the leg stump. Russel Arnold and Stuart Law fell in quick succession and suddenly the flow of runs halted. Between overs 8 and 13, only 24 runs were scored.
Sathish hit a stroke-filled half-century to put the Superstars in charge after they seemed to have lost the early momentum given by Read and Harvey. He took a few moments to settle even as wickets fell and runs dried up, before sending the ball to all corners of the ground. Darren Maddy suffered the most, conceding 17 in his only over . Sathish first pulled a short one of Maddy past square leg, followed by a flat-batted boundary over Maddy's head and then stepping out to a slower one over long-on.
Easily picking the trundlers of Craig McMillan and Lance Klusener, Sathish, in company of Sarvanan, who scripted a handy cameo of 24, made merry. In the process Sathish even hit possibly the longest six of the ICL, bludgeoning Klusener high over extra cover and clearing the stands. Sathish gave the spectators something to savour, unlike the tame riposte of the Tigers.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo