IPL 2018 | Match 56 | CSK vs KXIP: Chennai Super Kings ended the final knockout match with a comfortable win against the Kings XI Punjab by five wickets.

CSK is now at par with the table-toppers, Sunrisers Hyderabad, with 18 points and will be facing them in the Qualifier 1 match on May 22nd. This result helped Rajasthan Royals keep its place in the top four as they made it to the playoffs as well.

KXIP, on the other hand, finished the tournament with their eighth successive defeat at seventh place. They needed a win by at least 53 runs to make it to the playoffs but didn’t even come close to the target.

CSK won the toss and opted to field first. Placing KXIP to bat, they had a terrible start as they lost all their big-hitting batsmen, KL Rahul (7), Chris Gayle (0) and Aaron Finch (4) within the Power Play. With only 29 runs by the end of PP, Manoj Tiwary (35) and David Miller (24) added a substantial amount of runs to the score. Tiwary was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja and Miller left soon after at the hands of a well-executed yorker by Dwayne Bravo. But it was only Karun Nair‘s brilliant knock of 54 runs off 26 balls laced with three fours and five sixes that provided any chance of KXIP winning. Axar Patel (14) attempted to support him in his ordeal but was taken out by a stunning catch by Sam Billings. After his wicket, captain Ravichandran Ashwin, Andrew Tye and Ankit Rajpoot along with Nair were taken out one by one until KXIP ended their innings at 153 – all out in 19.4 overs.

Lungi Ngidi was the star of the match as he finished with a spectacular figure of 4/10. Bravo had a good day on the field too as he eliminated two crucial KXIP batsmen but conceded 39 runs in his four overs.

CSK had a target of 154 to chase which they achieved in 19.1 overs. They ended the innings with Suresh Raina‘s unbeaten 61 runs off 48 balls laced with two sixes and four fours and MS Dhoni‘s seven ball cameo of 16 runs. He ended the match in a very Dhoni-esque way with a spectacular six. However, their start wasn’t as entertaining as the end. CSK lost Ambati Rayudu (1) in the second over to Mohit Sharma. The situation didn’t improve with two back-to-back dismissals of Faf du Plessis (14) and Sam Billings (0) by pacer Ankit Rajpoot, two overs later. Plessis was caught out by Gayle while Billings was clean-bowled for a golden duck. Ankit Rajpoot not only took down the wickets but also reduced them to 27/3 in five overs. Harbhajan Singh (19) and Suresh Raina then came in and took the team to fifty runs in nine overs. Just when they got the momentum going, Harbhajan was dismissed by captain Ravichandran Ashwin himself in the eleventh over. At that point, CSK needed 96 off 59 balls. Raina attempted to keep the run rate going but it fell uneven with no possibility of a boundary. In fact, the team had six dry overs from the ninth to the fifteenth over with no boundaries. With a target of 73 off 36 balls, Deepak Chahar hit two consecutive sixes in Ashwin’s over and Axar Patel’s over to bring the target to an easier 40 runs off 24 balls. But Ashwin came with vengeance to remove Chahar in the seventeenth over. However, his 20-ball 39 helped reduce 56 runs from the target with Raina. Then came in Dhoni and the rest was history.

This win has given CSK two chances at the final at the Qualifiers and the Eliminator and with their in-form performance, they look like they are about to give some tough competition to the Sunrisers Hyderabad. They will now be clashing with SRH for the Qualifiers 1 at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on May 22nd at 20:00 IST.

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