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CSK knock out the champions

MoM Suresh Raina, on way to his unbeaten 54, on Wednesday

Mumbai: Suresh Raina smashed an unbeaten half-century as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) set up a clash with Kings XI Punjab for Qualifier II, with a convincing seven-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians in the IPL eliminator, here, on Wednesday.

CSK, two-time champions, comfortably managed to reach the target of 174 with eight balls to spare at the Brabourne Stadium. They scored 176/3.

Raina, the only player to score 400 runs in all the IPL seasons, scored a quick-fire 33-ball 54 (not out) which was laced with four boundaries and two sixes. He was ably supported by David Hussey, who also remained unbeaten on 40 off 29 balls.

Earlier, Lendl Simmons smashed a 44-ball 67 to help MI post a challenging 173 for eight in their stipulated 20 overs, at the Brabourne stadium here.

CSK began their chase at a brisk pace. Openers Dwayne Smith and Faf du Plessis laid a strong foundation by scoring 60 runs off just 38 balls.

But MI wrested the momentum when veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh dismissed the openers in the seventh over. Smith struck four boundaries for his 20-ball 24 before being caught at long-on by fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard. He hit three consecutive boundaries off Jasprit Bumrah.

South African Du Plessis, who was given a reprieve while he was on 16 following a misunderstanding between Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu, scored 35 off 20 balls. His breezy knock was laced with five fours and a six.

They were further reduced when they lost New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum at a score of 87, three overs later. McCullum struck two sixes in his 11-ball 14 before being stumped off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.

One-down batsman Raina and Hussey did the repairing job and the duo carted the bowlers all over the park to comfortably guide their team to victory.

The duo smashed Ojha for 20 runs in the 16th over, with Hussey scoring two sixes over long on and Raina following with another in the same region, to virtually seal the match in their favour.

Harbhajan Singh was the pick of the bowlers, grabbing two wickets for 27 runs.

Earlier, 29-year-old Simmons provided the ideal start to the defending champions along with Michael Hussey, when they were put into bat by Mahendra Singh Dhoni after winning the toss.

The duo piled on 76 runs in 58 balls, before left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja shattered Hussey’s stumps.