Chennai Super Kings picked up a 22-run victory against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday at MA Chidambaram Stadium to go top of the table. KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan scored fifties each in 161-run chase, but the slow surface played doom to their intentions of chasing down the hefty total. KXIP could only reach 138/5 in reply, and suffered their second defeat this season.
Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first. CSK brought Faf du Plessis into the side for the first time and also handed Scott Kuggeleijn a debut. Kings XI Punjab brought back Chris Gayle into the side in place of Hardus Viljoen. Andrew Tye also replaced Mujeeb-ur-Rahman.
Faf du Plessis hit a fine half-century up the order while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu provided the late flourish to help Chennai Super Kings post a competitive 160 for three against Kings XI Punjab in an IPL match here Saturday. Opening the batting, Du Plessis made 54 off 38 balls with the help of two fours and four hits over the fence and together with Shane Watson (26) added 56 runs for the first wicket after opting to bat.
But it was some late hitting by Dhoni (37 not out, 23 balls, 4X4s, 1X6) and Rayudu (21 not out, 15 balls, 1X6, 1X4) and their unbeaten 60-run fourth wicket partnership in 30 balls that helped the defending champions reachable a respectable total.
KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan stitched a 110-run stand after Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal were dismissed in the second over by Harbhajan Singh. But the duo were shackled down by CSK’s spinning troika – Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja. Rahul and Sarfaraz scored fifties each, but in the process, slowed down the run rate.
The asking run rate became too steep which prompted both the batsmen to go for risky shots and lose their wickets in the end. Singh starred for CSK, giving away just 17 runs and taking 2 wickets in his 4 overs.
The game changer has to be MS Dhoni. On a slow track, it was Dhoni’s 23-ball 37* which gave a good cushion of 20-30 odd runs to CSK. At one point, it looked CSK would not would be able to surpass the 150-run mark. But Dhoni’s blitzkrieg took his side to a competitive total, which was bound to get difficult for any side to chase on a slow track.
KXIP missed having someone like Dhoni at their disposal. David Miller tried to play a similar innings for Punjab. But he, too, struggled on the surface and could not get going.
Scorecard: Chennai Super Kings (du Plessis 54, Dhoni 37*; Ashwin 23/2); Kings XI Punjab (S Khan 67, Rahul 55; H Singh 17/2)
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