Chennai Super Kings defeated Kings XI Punjab By 22 runs in the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. With this win, CSK reached the top off the charts in IPL standings.
Chasing a total of 161, Kings XI Punjab got off to the worst start possible as they lost both Chris Gayle (5) and Mayank Agarwal (0) in the second over of the innings. Harbhajan Singh provided CSK with the key breakthroughs.
After losing two early wickets, KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan retrieved the innings for Punjab and both the batsmen brought up their respective half-centuries. Despite not taking a wicket for more than 14 overs, CSK maintained a tight grip on the match as the bowlers did not leak runs. The spinning trio of Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, and Imran Tahir choked the runs for Punjab and Punjab required 46 off the final three overs for the win.
The duo of Rahul and Sarfaraz put on a 110-run stand before Kuggeleijn induced a top edge from Rahul (55) which resulted in his dismissal. The batsman perished in searching for quick runs. David Miller joined Sarfaraz in the middle and both these batsmen had a tough job at hand as Punjab required 39 off the final two overs for the win.
Miller (6) was dismissed in the 19th over by Deepak Chahar in the 19th over. With 26 required off the final over, the task proved too much for Sarfaraz and he was not able to take Punjab over the line, which resulted in Chennai's win by 22 runs.
Earlier, Faf Du Plessis and MS Dhoni's knocks of 54 and 37* respectively enabled CSK to post 160 runs for the loss of three wickets in the allotted twenty overs after opting to bat first. CSK got off to a good start in the first six overs as the openers Shane Watson and du Plessis hammered the visitors with regular boundaries. The team was able to score 54 runs in the powerplay overs.
The duo stitched together a 56-run partnership before Watson (26) was dismissed by Ravi Ashwin. Watson was looking to go big but he was only able to hand a simple catch to Sam Curran. After the dismissal of Watson, Punjab's bowlers were able to squeeze the runs, bowling tight overs bringing the run-rate of CSK down.
After seeing the run rate going down, du Plessis decided to get a move on and he along with Suresh Raina increased the tempo of the innings. Du Plessis brought up his fifty in the 13th over of the innings.
The duo added 44 runs before Du Plessis (54) was finally dismissed by Ravi Ashwin. CSK were pegged back further as Raina (17) was sent back to the pavilion in the very same over by Ashwin. Punjab then continued to choke on the runs for Chennai. The honors then fell onto Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu to enable Chennai to post a competitive score on the board.
Dhoni once again stepped up to the occasion as the CSK skipper scored freely in the final three overs of the innings and he was aided by Rayudu at the other end as well. Both these batsmen ensured that Chennai were able to post 160 runs for the loss of three wickets in the allotted twenty overs. The duo added 60 runs in last 6.2 overs which saw Dhoni and Rayudu remaining unbeaten on 37 and 21 respectively.
Kings XI Punjab next takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 8 whereas Chennai Super Kings will face Kolkata Knight Riders on April 9.