Virender Sehwag's blistering century and some steady bowling saw Kings XI Punjab beat Chennai Super Kings by 24 runs against Kings XI Punjab in the second IPL qualifier at the Wankhede stadium on Friday. They will now meet KKR in the final on Sunday.
Chennai had a disastrous start, losing Faf du Plessis in the first over. Du Plessis (0) tried to pull a short ball from Mitchell Johnson but ended up spooning it way up in the air. George Bailey, at mid-on, made no mistakes.
Suresh Raina brought things under control in the next over, slamming Sandeep Sharma for 18. What followed was carnage. Raina hit 12 fours and six sixes to reach 87 in a mere 25 balls.
Sandeep Sharma eased the pressure on Punjab a little by getting rid of Dwayne Smith (7) in the fifth over. But with Raina still at the crease and Brendon McCullum accompanying him, danger was looming for Punjab.
Raina finally fell in the seventh over, trying to sneak a single. George Bailey's sharp direct hit saw his back.
Things cooled down a bit after that, but Chennai were still in the chase. McCullum (11 off 16 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (27 off 21 balls) kept things moving.
Then three wickets tumbled within a span of three runs to help Punjab get the upper hand.
First to go was Brendon McCullum when Glenn Maxwell's powerful throw and swift work by 'keeper Wriddhiman Saha saw him well outside his crease.
The next ball, Parvinder Awana struck, getting rid of the dangerous looking Jadeja. A top edge saw the ball going to third man where Johnson converted a very tough chance.
In the fifth ball of that over, Awana struck again, getting rid of David Hussey (1). Hussey slugged a short of length ball straight to midwicket.
Captain MS Dhoni, with R Ashwin in tow, tried to put up a defence. The two scored 25 runs. But then, Ashwin fell, trying to give Akshar Patel the charge, missing and getting stumped instead.
In the previous innings, Virender Sehwag's blistering century and David Miller's useful knock got Kings XI Punjab to 226 for six.
Sehwag looked in supreme form and brutalised the Chennai bowling line-up. He clobbered eight sixes and 12 fours to get to 122 in 58 balls, his first century of this season.
Fellow Manan Vohra (34 off 31 balls) looked in good touch as well. The biggest over for Punjab was the fourth one, when they took 24 off Ishwar Pandey. Pandey's first over had yeilded only one run.
Pandey took a revenge of sorts when he finally got Vohra caught out as a top edge was taken easily by Raina at mid-wicket.
Sehwag was then joined by Glenn Maxwell (13 off seven balls). He looked aggressive as ever, but fell to R Ashwin after hitting a massive six. Maxwell misjudged the next one, which was a topspinner and holed out to Raina.
Ashwin ran after the Australian as he was leaving and blew a kiss. Dhoni looked a little miffed by the reaction and the Aussie was livid as he left the field, pointing it out to an official.
Sehwag was then joined by David Miler (38 off 19 balls). Miler's aggression threatened to dwarf even Sehwag. He put up a 63-run partnership with Sehwag off 31 balls.
Ashish Nehra provided the much needed relief for CSK, finally getting Sehwag out. Faf du Plessis took a brilliant catch at extra cover after Sehwag miscued a full toss.
Nehra got George Bailey (1) out on the last ball of the over. He was castled.
Miller and Wriddhiman Saha (6) continued the charge, but the Australian got out trying to steal a single.
CSK now need 227 to get to the final.
Commentary, Chennai Super Kings Innings:
Commentary, Kings XI Punjab Innings: