Cairns roars as Lions clinch thriller
Chandigarh Lions 195 for 8 (Cairns 67, Vincent 42, Kumaran 3-27, Mohammed 3-36) beat Chennai Superstars 191 for 9 (Harvey 58, Vignesh 42, Saravanan 32*, Ablish 3-19) by four runs
Nearly 400 runs were scored in 40 overs as the Chandigarh Lions prevailed by four runs over the Chennai Superstars. Batsmen from both teams gave the holiday crowd plenty to cheer in Panchkula, raking up the top two totals of the tournament in a match that went down to the wire.
The tone was set right from the word go; the Lions' openers teed off after Chris Cairns decided to bat. Lou Vincent smashed 42 off 22 balls, but he fell quickly after partner Matthew Elliot (22) departed. A collapse triggered by T Kumaran and Syed Mohammed saw the Lions slumps for 63 for no loss for 83 for 5, but the head of the pack was only beginning to lick his paws.
Cairns mauled the Superstars' bowlers with 67 off 32 balls, including five sixes and five fours. Kumaran and Mohammed took three wickets apiece, but Cairns' heroics propelled the Lions to a commanding 195.
The Superstars, who had beaten the Lions in the final of last year's tournament, were undaunted by the task; opener G Vignesh mirrored Vincent's burst for the Lions, with another 42 off 22, and by the time he was dismissed, the Superstars were cruising at 55 for 1 off 5.1 overs.
Vignesh's partner Ian Harvey anchored the chase with his 58; however, none of the rest in the top six managed to contribute much. When Harvey fell, 45 were needed off just more than four overs, and despite a fighting 32 off 20 from S Saravanan, the Superstars fell five runs adrift of their target. Perhaps, the difference between the two sides was the spell from Love Ablish. He conceded only 19 from his four overs, picking up three wickets, while Dinesh Mongia chipped in with 2 for 31.