Steyn’s stroke of luck spells victory for Chargers

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Indians warmed up for play-offs with a thumping 10-wicket win against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.

The defeat knocked the Challengers out of the play-offs as defending champion Chennai Super Kings go through thanks to a superior run rate after both teams finished with 17 points.

JP Duminy smashed 74 off 53 balls to lift the Chargers’ total to 132-7. Steyn removed the dangerous Chris Gayle (27) and Tillakaratne Dilshan in successive overs before clean bowling Zaheer Khan in his last over as the Challengers finished with 123-9.

Chargers ended up second from the bottom in the nine team league with nine points from just four wins, 11 defeats and one no-result.

Gayle, who scored a century in the previous game against leaders Delhi Daredevils, gave his team another blistering start when he smashed three fours and two sixes in seamer Manpreet Singh’s first over of the innings.

However, Steyn struck twice in successive overs when first Gayle played onto a short pitched delivery and Tillakaratne Dilshan was out leg before wicket.

Legspinner Amit Mishra got two wickets in one over that reduced Challengers to 57-4 before stand-in captain Virat Kohli (42) and Saurabh Tiwari got the innings back on track with a 46-run stand.

Under pressure
Kohli hit seamer Ashish Reddy for a straight six but needlessly tried to repeat the shot off the next delivery and was caught at long on. Tiwari also came under pressure as the asking rate rose to more than 10 an over and the lefthander finally top edged Veer Pratap Singh in the 19th over to Kumar Sangakkara at mid-wicket.

“We could have played better shots, we did not play the right shots on that wicket,” Kohli said. “My wicket probably changed the game. We just need to learn from our mistakes and come back stronger next year.”

At Jaipur, Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar featured in a best ever IPL opening stand as Mumbai Indians raced to 163-0 in 18 overs after Royals made a decent 162-6.

Smith made unbeaten 87 off 58 balls with 10 fours and three sixes while Tendulkar scored 58 off 51 balls with six boundaries. However, both batsmen got some reprieve from sloppy Royals fielding, who dropped Smith twice and Shane Watson could not hold onto Tendulkar’s top edged sweep at backward square leg.

Mumbai Indians finished third with 20 points and will take on Chennai Super Kings in the eliminator on Wednesday.

Delhi Daredevils will meet Kolkata Knight Riders at Pune on Tuesday and the winner will qualify for the final. The loser will take on winner of Mumbai Indians-Chennai Super Kings game at Chennai on May 25 to qualify for May 27 final – also at Chennai. – Sapa-AP

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