In a little over an hour the Warner opera knocked the stuffing out of Chennai Super Kings. The Australian opener turned up trumps with a match-winning unbeaten 135 for New South Wales in a crunch match at Chepauk on Tuesday that left the home side gasping for breath.
By the time David Warner finished his and New South Wales innings, CSK were practically out of the match as they were asked to climb a mountain of 202 to get in 17 overs so that they could overtake the Chennai side on run-rate. Eventually, NSW won by 46 runs to advance to the semifinals as first from the group with six points along with Mumbai Indians in second place.
The Super Kings were perilously close to elimination when Cape Cobras almost defended their total in the first match, but they got a new lease of life when T&T came back from the dead. However, CSK’s survival lasted only three more hours as New South Wales sent the hosts to the gallows unceremoniously. The only solace for the homeside was that the spectators who came to the stadium did not have to watch an inconsequential match.
Warner’s 135 off 69 balls had 11 fours and eight towering sixes. The southpaw swept the CSK bowlers with monotonous regularity and most of his sweep shots landed in the stands. One of the rare shots that he played straight off medium-pacer Bravo stunningly cleared the field. Such was the ease with which Warner played that CSK were virtually butchered in the second half of the innings.
There were moments when CSK thought they had come back to life. This was after a solid opening-wicket stand between Warner and Watson which yielded 54 from 6.4 overs. Solid but not yet indicating the carnage that was in store.
Then Smith and Warner put on 100 in no time. Smith was the silent partner with a contribution of 31 off 29 balls as Warner cut loose. The last 15 balls cost CSK 47 runs and when they came back for their chase, they had only three overs fewer to make 200-odd runs. The run-rate factor had added insult to the wounds caused by Warner.
CSK’s chances of getting 202 in 17 overs largely depended on Mike Hussey, who promised much with a short and sweet 37 off 27 balls before he was adjudged lbw to a slower ball from Clark. The asking rate had climbed to 14 and the CSK challenge ended with every passing over.
At the halfway stage of 10 overs, CSK were 88 for three and they began losing more wickets as left-arm spinner O’Keefe took three wickets for 28 runs from his four overs. CSK brought down the shutters at 119 for seven and were 59 runs short when they reached 17 overs.