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Ballance blast fails to dethrone Chennai Super Kings in t20 Champions League
Yorkshire’s memorable Champions League t20 journey ended in a four-wicket defeat to Chennai Super Kings in Durban.
It was only the county’s fifth loss in 19 Twenty20 matches in the calendar year of 2012, with three of them coming in their group ‘B’ campaign during the last week in South Africa.
Invited to bat first yesterday, Yorkshire posted a below-par 140-6 despite the best efforts of Gary Ballance, who hit five sixes in an excellent 38-ball 58 against international bowlers such as Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus.
He shared 78 inside ten overs for the fourth wicket with home city boy David Miller, back in the side for the first time since the opening match of the qualifying stage nearly two weeks ago.
Ballance peppered the boundaries on either side of the wicket, while Miller was more reserved on the way to 28 off 26.
One of Ballance’s sixes even went over deep mid-wicket and out of the Kingsmead ground off the left-arm spin of Ravi Jadeja, but the momentum subsided when he and Miller both departed inside the last three overs of the innings.
Subramaniam Badrinath then anchored the Chennai chase with a top-score of 47 off 38 balls after they had been reduced to 26-2 in the fifth over.
Indian Test captain MS Dhoni also hit 31 off 23, but some poor fielding from Yorkshire contributed to their loss with six balls to spare against a side boasting 958 international caps to their 34.
“If we look at it honestly, we were about 20 runs short,” said batsman Joe Root, who links up with the England Test squad in Dubai later this week.
“We needed to pull off something special in the field and with the ball. We got off to a good start bowling wise, but we couldn’t quite pull it together. The fielding wasn’t quite as good as it has been, but we did give it a really good go. I don’t think you can ask much more of a young set of lads. I think the average age of our squad this trip has been 24, and we can only get better.”
Andrew Gale (23) underpinned an excellent start to the match at 35-0 after five overs, but the White Rose lost three wickets for eight runs in the next three overs to undermine their chances.
Losing wickets in clusters has been a problem for them throughout this competition, and the departures of Gale, Adam Lyth and Root in quick succession ultimately cost them.
However, Ballance and Miller made the contest interesting with some powerful hitting.
Dhoni, usually the CSK wicketkeeper, was even given a couple of overs by stand-in captain Suresh Raina, but he and Hilfenhaus were both hit for two sixes in the 17th and 19th overs by Ballance.
Bollinger and Albie Morkel finished with two wickets apiece, while Hilfenhaus also struck. Yorkshire only scored 20 off the last three overs.
After Steve Patterson and Oliver Hannon-Dalby took wickets to leave the Super Kings at 26-2 in the fifth over of the reply, Raina and Badrinath sparked the recovery with a third-wicket stand of 48 inside seven overs.
Hannon-Dalby then had Raina caught at deep cover before Iain Wardlaw bowled Badrinath in the 17th after he had also shared 43 in 5.1 overs for the fourth wicket with Dhoni.
Azeem Rafiq removed Jadeja before Wardlaw yorked Dhoni with the scores level in the penultimate over. Yorkshire, who fly home tomorrow, will rue giving away four overthrows twice.
Wardlaw and Hannon-Dalby both finished with impressive figures of 2-23 from their four overs.
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