The first two wins in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament belonged to South African teams, but it was India’s Chennai Super Kings who showed star quality on Saturday.
The Highveld Lions pulled off a surprise win against the Mumbai Indians in Friday’s opening game in Johannesburg and South African champions the Warriors cruised to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka’s Wayamba Elevens in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The spotlight then switched to Durban, where a capacity crowd saw the Super Kings, led by India Test captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, showed the style that took them to the Indian Premier League title this year.
In conditions that man-of-the-match Subramaniam Badrinath described as “totally different to India,” the Kings overcame a shaky start to trounce New Zealand’s Central Stags by 57 runs.
After morning rain in Durban, the Kingsmead pitch offered bounce and movement to the bowlers and international stars Matthew Hayden, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay fell early, but Badrinath and the hard-hitting Anirudha Srikkanth rescued the Indian side with a fourth-wicket stand of 73.
Badrinath made an unbeaten 52 and Srikkanth an impressive 42 as Chennai finished with 151 for four.
The Super Kings then unleashed a formidable bowling attack in which fast bowlers Doug Bollinger and Lakshmipathy Balaji created early havoc, which was capitalized on by spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ravichandran Ashwin.
The Stags crumbled to 94 all out.
Warriors were impressive on their home ground at St George’s Park, restricting Wayamba to 153 for nine.
Rusty Theron took two early wickets, including that of Sri Lanka star batsman Mahela Jayawardene, and bowled impressively in the “death” overs to take three for 23. Veteran South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini took two for 34 and fellow long-serving national player Mark Boucher top-scored with 40 not out as the Warriors eased to victory with 10 balls to spare.
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