KXIP vs CSK: KL Rahul, Sam Curran star as Kings XI Punjab bow out with win
It was one of those days when MS Dhoni didn’t fire for Chennai Super Kings. Suresh Raina had batted well for his half-century and built a solid platform along with Faf Du Plessis but the visitors couldn’t build on it to reach 200 which looked gettable. Instead, CSK tottered to 170.
The fans however didn’t have to wait much for sixes to rain as KL Rahul made Chris Gayle look a bystander, racing to a 19-ball half-century, the third-fastest fifty this IPL. Harbhajan Singh was carted for 18 and 24 runs in CSK’s second and fourth overs. While Deepak Chahar managed to keep things tight at one end Bhajji — playing in his home ground — was targeted by Rahul.
After hitting two sixes in Bhajji’s first over, Rahul hammered three consecutive fours and finishing with two sixes off the spinner. As Punjab galloped to the 100-run mark in just nine overs, twin strikes from Bhajji brought some semblance of normalcy in the proceedings. He removed Rahul, caught by Imran Tahir for 71 (36b, 7x4, 5x6) and Gayle 28 (28b, 2x4, 2x6) on the score of 108 to delay the inevitable.
Harbhajan then returned to remove Mayank Agarwal but by that time it was already too late as Nicholas Pooran played a brisk knock of 36 off 22 balls to help Punjab stay on course for a consolation win. A six-wicket win ensured that Punjab jump two places to finish sixth on the points table ahead of Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
In between Dhoni walking in towards the end of the innings and faltering to score big runs, CSK had once again debunked the theory that good Powerplays contribute to big scores. Once again the start was slow. Shane Watson struggled and was bowled by Sam Curran, Punjab’s best bowler of the day who went on to pick up three wickets. But then du Plessis, along with Raina (53) added 120 runs for the second wicket to set the course for CSK.
Raina was the initial aggressor, taking risks as CSK gained momentum. Chennai’s 50 came in the eighth over and by the 10th over CSK had scored 79 for the loss of one-wicket. CSK then went on to add 91 runs in the next 10 overs with du Plessis leading the charge. At 37 off 28 at the end of the 10th over, he went on to score 96 off 55 balls, hitting 10 fours and four sixes.
M Ashwin went for 18 in the 15th over with Raina hitting a boundary and du Plessis hammering a six and four off him. Andrew Tye’s next over also went for 18 runs with du Plessis hitting two fours through covers and square before depositing the ball in the crowd over long-on.
Just when a century looked certain, Curran managed to produce a near-perfect yorker to get rid of du Plessis. From 163 for 3 in 18.4 overs CSK could add just seven more runs. Mohammed Shami struck twice in the last over to keep CSK to 170, a score Punjab surmounted for a consolation win.