With two top-class offspinners in action, the slow Chepauk track became an ideal stage for them to exhibit their skills. The Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab saw a marquee clash between Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh. Harbhajan may have dropped down the pecking order, but for Dhoni in IPL, he is a trump card. On the other hand, Ashwin is equally lethal with his variations.
Chennai, opting to bat first, ran into an in-form Ashwin who brought himself back into the attack in the eighth over with both the Chennai openers having got their eye in. The local boy playing on his home turf, and for a different team, struck by removing Shane Watson (26) off a well-disguised carrom ball. Then it was a two in two for Ashwin in the last over of his spell when he foxed Faf du Plessis (54) and Suresh Raina (17) with a carrom ball and slower one, respectively, to finish with figures of 3 for 23. The twin strikes tied down Chennai to 101/3 in 14 overs, until it needed a M.S. Dhoni special to post 160/3 in 20 overs.
Dhoni needed his spinners to strike early and Harbhajan was brought into action in the second over itself — rightly so with Chris Gayle at the crease. In T20s against Gayle before this match, Harbhajan had bowled 125 deliveries to him conceding 111 runs and dismissing him five times.
Fourth delivery, Harbhajan tossed it up outside off, Gayle (5) swung but got a thin nick to Dhoni behind the stumps. Last ball of his first over, Harbhajan tossed one up again and Mayank Agarwal (0) stepped out. However, he did not get the timing right and played into the hands of the long-on fielder. A double-wicket maiden set the match up perfectly as the offspinner's figures of 2 for 17 played a key role in Chennai's 22-run win.