Chennai Super Kings (CSK) defeated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by 22 runs at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium of Chennai on Saturday, April 6. 

Chennai Super Kings won the toss and elected to bat first. Both the teams made a few changes in their squad. Scott Kuggeleijn, Faf du Plessis and Harbhajan came in place of Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma and the injured Bravo in CSK. Gayle and Andrew Tye came in place of Hardus Viljoen and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in KXIP.

Faf du Plessis opened the innings along with Shane Watson and added 56 runs in 7.2 overs before Watson’s dismissal. Later, KXIP captain Ashwin cleaned up du Plessis and Suresh Raina in consecutive deliveries in the 14th over. But captain MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu added quickfire 60 runs and put up 160 on board at the end of 20 overs.

Chasing 161, Punjab didn’t get a solid start as the in-form Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal got out very cheaply. However, the 110-run partnership between KL Rahul and Sarfraz Khan kept the hope alive of their win. But, Scott Kuggeleijn cleared both of them. However, David Miller too couldn’t contribute much and KXIP ended up scoring 138 runs on board.

Here are the three talking points of the game:

Punjab’s death over dismal and Dhoni-Rayudu’s partnership

Chennai chose to bat first after winning the toss. They made a change in their opening pair as Faf du Plessis opened the game alongside Shane Watson. Both steadily built the innings and added 56 runs in 7.2 overs before Ashwin dismissed Watson. However, du Plessis played a stable knock in his first game of this season and scored 54 off 38; which included two boundaries and four sixes.

Later, Ashwin cleaned up du Plessis and Suresh Raina in the 14th over and restricted Chennai within a below per of 116/3 after 17th over. Things were going according to Punjab’s plans but MS Dhoni had some other plans too. Dhoni hit Tye for a boundary and managed 16 runs in the 18th over. The following over was another big one as Dhoni took on Sam Curran and hit two boundaries and a maximum. The final over ended with a boundary and a maximum.

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All of a sudden, things changed completely and Punjab gave away 44 runs in last 18 balls, which powered Chennai to 160/3 in 20 overs on a slow pitch. Dhoni scored unbeaten 37 off 23 balls and Rayudu scored a 15-ball  21*.

Harbhajan Singh’s early strikes

Chasing 161, Punjab was expecting an easy chase as their openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul have been in form. Along with them, middle order batsmen Mayank Agarwal and Sarfaraz Khan too have been timing the balls well. 

But, MS Dhoni brought Harbhajan Singh in the second over and he cleared Chris Gayle in the fourth delivery for mere 5 off 7. Later, he picked up Mayank Agarwal as well in the same over for a 2-ball duck. He didn’t give away a single run in that over and finished his spell with 2/17 in four overs.

Chennai’s death over bowling

After the quick successions of Gayle and Agarwal within 2 overs, KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan tried to resurrect the innings. They rotated the strike pretty well and hit big shots whenever required. Both of them put up 71 runs in 10 overs. They reached the 100-run mark in 14 overs and they were pretty much in the game by then.

In the 15th over, Sarfaraz Khan scored his maiden IPL fifty off 42 balls and in the following over, KL Rahul reached his fifty off 41 balls. Punjab needed 46 runs in 18 balls; which was not a difficult job as per the standard of IPL this season.

However, Scott Kuggeleijn returned to finish his spell and dismissed Rahul for 55. Chahar took in-form David Miller for 6 and Kuggeleijn dismissed Sarfaraz Khan for 67 off 59. Chennai bowlers did a brilliant job as they gave away only 21 runs in the last three overs and Chennai registered another win convincingly.

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