Chennai: Suresh Raina's superb ton helped Chennai Super Kings take a giant stride towards qualifying for the knock-out stages as they defeated Kings XI Punjab by 15 runs to win their seventh match on the trot in the Pepsi Indian Premier League on Thursday.


Raina scored an unbeaten 100 in Chennai Super Kings' total of 186 for four and then the bowlers kept their cool to restrict Kings XI to 171 for six despite a brilliant conter-attacking partnership of 95 between between Shaun Marsh, who scored a 51-ball 73 (8x4, 2x6) and David Miller (51 not out, 26 balls, 5x4, 2x6).
The win took CSK's points tally to 18 from 11 matches and they are now all but through to the last four stage of the competition. The seventh successive win is an IPL record which they now share with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Needing 19 to win off the last over, Dwayne Bravo bowled intelligently giving away only three runs but more importantly took three wickets to finish with figures of three for 34.
Marsh and Miller were on a 'Mission Impossible' but did play their part admirably well to get close to the target but in the end, 186 proved to be good enough for the CSK juggernaut to roll on.
Haryana medium-pacer Mohit Sharma had dealt a severe blow by removing both openers Luke Pomersbach and Mandeep Singh in quick succession.
It was always going to be a catch-up game for the Kings XI batsmen but credit to Marsh, who grabbed with both hands the chance to open the innings after regular captain Adam Gilchrist sat himself out in the last two matches after a string of poor scores.
Earlier, Raina's splendid century helped title favourites Chennai Super Kings to post a commendable total of 186 for four after opting to bat.
Raina batted magnificently to strike exactly 100 off only 53 balls with the help of seven fours and half a dozen sixes.
The UP left-hander became the third batsman after Chris Gayle and Shane Watson to score a century in the current edition.
In the last five overs, CSK pulverised the Kings XI bowlers for 70 runs.

Chennai Super Kings: W Saha, M Hussey, S Raina, MS Dhoni, S Badrinath, R Jadeja, D Bravo, A Morkel, C Morris, R Ashwin, M Sharma.
Kings XI Punjab:
S Marsh, Mandeep Singh, D Hussey, D Miller, L Pomersbach, Gurkeerat Singh, R Sathish, P Chawla, M Gony, P Kumar, P Awana.


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