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MS Dhoni blitz in vain as Kings XI Punjab seal IPL 2018 thriller against Chennai Super Kings

MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 44-ball 79 went in vain as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) lost to Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by four runs in an IPL 2018 match in Mohali on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Apr 16, 2018 00:05 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times, Mohali
IPL 2018,Indian Premier League 2018,Kings XI Punjab
MS Dhoni in action during match twelve of the 2018 Indian Premier League 2018 (IPL 2018) between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Sunday. (BCCI )

It was almost a heist pulled off by none other than MS Dhoni himself. But in the end CSK went down, third time unlucky in the chase, Gayle’s knock the difference between the two sides.(KXIP vs CSK HIGHLIGHTS)

Given a life when substitute Mayank Dagar, in for Mayank Agarwal, fluffed a chance, Dhoni ran CSK close but in the end he fell four-run short. (KXIP vs CSK SCORES)

CSK’s batting and bowling woes extended to yet another match. While bowlers failed to stop the flow of runs, batting stuttered with only Ambati Rayudu (49) and Dhoni himself looking comfortable on the field. CSK struggled in front of disciplined bowling. The chase started slow with both Shane Watson and Murali Vijay trying to watch the ball and settle down. Just when it looked Watson was opening his shoulders he was caught by Barinder Sran off Mohit Sharma for 11. Andrew Tye and R Ashwin picked Vijay (12) and Sam Billings (9) to reduce CSK to 56 for 3. Ambati Rayudu and skipper MS Dhoni then managed to stitch a useful partnership of 57 runs to get CSK back in the match.

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Chris Gayle maybe pushing 38, but by no means anyone can count him as a spent force when it comes to T20. On Sunday, Punjab unleashed the giant on the hapless Chennai Super Kings bowlers and carnage was inevitable. Although far from the belligerent knock that he is known for, Gayle, along with KL Rahul, toyed with the bowling scoring runs at will giving Punjab a flying start which helped them reach 197 in 20 overs.

Gayle-Rahul hammer CSK

Ten runs came off Deepak Chahar’s first over in which Rahul helped himself to a two fours, Gayle welcomed Harbhajan Singh with a boundary off the first ball.

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After three overs and score standing at 20, CSK would have taken that considering what came next. Bhajji’s second over, innings fourth, went for 19, with both Rahul (2 fours) and Gayle (4 and 6) taking apart the veteran spinner. Chahar who had managed to keep the things quite then was hammered for 22 runs by Gayle as the West Indian galloped to his fifty. His half-century came in 22 balls, even as Rahul perished much to the relief of CSK bowlers.

Bhajji provides breakthrough

Harbhajan provided the breakthrough. A full toss hammered in the air by Rahul (37) was caught by leaping Dawyne Bravo at covers.

By the time Gayle was caught by Imran Tahir off Shane Watson for 63 off 33 balls Kings had reached 127 in 11 overs. After this, CSK managed to put brakes on Punjab who were threatening to cruise past 200-run mark.

Imran Tahir’s (2 for 34) twin strikes removed Mayank Agarwal (30) and Aaron Finch (0) off successive balls. An over later, Shradul Thakur removed Yuvraj Singh for 20 as Punjab succumbed to 157 for five in 16th over. In the end, Karun Nair (29) and skipper R Ashwin (14) scored quick cameos to help Punjab reach close to 200.

First Published: Apr 15, 2018 20:02 IST