Marshall helps Bengal reclaim second spot
Royal Bengal Tigers 162 for 1 (Marshall 80*, Dasgupta 54) beat Chennai Superstars 161 (Badani 55, Sathish 50, Chandana 4-38, Ahmid 3-21) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A 132-run opening stand between Hamish Marshall and Deep Dasgupta guided Royal Bengal Tigers to a nine-wicket win over Chennai Superstars. The victory put Bengal back in second place. They are now level on ten points with table-toppers Chennai and have virtually assured themselves a place in the semi-finals.
Hamish Marshall signalled his intent right from the start as he tore into Shabbir Ahmed with two fours and a six. Dasgupta played the perfect foil, holding up the other end and rotating the strike as Marshall raced to 45 off 25 balls. Marshall was handed a lifeline when Russel Arnold dropped him off G Vignesh in the ninth over.
Marshall soon brought up his half-century in 29 balls, with five fours and two sixes. Chennai clearly seemed to be off-colour; Dasgupta also got a second chance when Chennai's captain Stuart Law dropped a sitter, again off Vignesh, at midwicket.
Vignesh's frustration was evident when he got into an altercation with Dasgupta in the 13th over after the batsman lifted him over long-off for six. A timely intervention from the on-field umpire ensured matters didn't flare up. Having been smacked for four off the penultimate ball in that eventful over, Vignesh saw an edge from Dasgupta dropped again, this time by Hemanth Kumar behind the stumps.
R Jesuraj was flayed for three boundaries the very next over as Dasgupta brought up his half-century off 44 balls. By the time Shabbir Ahmed trapped him leg-before on 54, Bengal were on course for victory. Marshall remained unbeaten on 80 and his captain Craig McMillan hit the winning runs during his 21.
Chennai suffered early losses after Law chose to bat. Hemanth was the first to go, holding out to Rajiv Kumar at point off Andre Adams with the score on 12. Vignesh, who boasted a strike-rate of 161.90 before the match, was looking good as he smashed two consecutive fours off Lance Klusener, but he top-edged a pull to midwicket and was caught by Rohan Gavaskar.
Arnold and Hemang Badani kept the run-rate ticking just below six as the seamers piled on the pressure. However, McMillan's move to introduce legspinner Upul Chandana in the ninth over paid off immediately as Arnold lofted the bowler to Marshall at long-on. Chennai's woes were further compounded when Jesuraj was run out soon after; the score read 59 for 4.
However, Badani and R Sathish led a superb fightback. While Badani looked the more composed, Satish went after Chandana in the 13th over, clubbing him for a four and two sixes in a 22-run over. Mihir Diwakar and McMillan also came in for some harsh treatment as Chennai looked set for a big score.
But once Eklak Ahmid removed Sathish in the 18th over, Chandana swung the momentum back Bengal's way, removing Badani, S Saravanan and Jamaluddin Syed Ahmed. Five wickets fell in the last twelve last balls - Eklak took two in the final over - as Chennai were kept to 154.