IPL 2019: Chennai Super Kings chokes Kings XI Punjab in run-chase

Chasing 161 runs to win, fortunes swung both ways but Chennai was successful in restricting Punjab to 138 for the loss of five wickets.

Deepak Chahar bowled a crucial over at the death in CSK's 22-run win over KXIP.   -  AFP Photo

Chennai Super Kings pulled off a brilliant win as it beat Kings XI Punjab by 22 runs in an Indian Premier League match at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium here on Saturday.

Chasing 161 runs to win, fortunes swung both ways but Chennai was successful in restricting Punjab to 138 for the loss of five wickets.

A free-flowing Punjab for the initial part of the innings pressed the panic button as M.S. Dhoni's bowlers delivered at the death and helped Chennai record its fourth win of the season. With 39 required off 12 deliveries, Deepak Chahar, bowling the penultimate over, got off to a horror start as he bowled two no-balls and conceded eight runs.  

Skipper Dhoni walked up to the bowler and his words made a massive difference as Chahar ended up castling the dangerous David Miller and gave 13 runs.

Highlights: CSK vs KXIP

The task of defending 26 runs in the last over was assigned to Scott Kuggeleijn, who did it in style and bolstered his team's position on the points table. The New Zealand all-rounder mixed up his deliveries well, deceived the batsmen with his slower ones and most importantly took the prized scalp of Sarfaraz Khan whose brilliant knock of 67 off 59 deliveries went in vain.

R. Ashwin's return to Chepauk didn't go as planned as Punjab lacked the power punch to finish off things. Sarfaraz and Rahul took the game deep but chose not to attack the spinners, which eventually cost them the game.  

At the halfway stage, it looked like Punjab would cruise to a comfortable win. But, credit to the Chennai bowlers for drying up the boundaries in the middle overs and hitting the right lengths at the death.

Spin played a vital role in Chennai's win as Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir kept the batsmen in check. Harbhajan gave Chennai a perfect start with a double-wicket maiden and the rest of the spinners bowled well in tandem in the middle to keep Chennai in the hunt.

Read: Ashwin spins it, Harbhajan turns it on

Punjab was in trouble having lost two wickets for just seven runs on the board. However, Rahul (55, 47b, 3x4, 1x6) and Sarfaraz hit brilliant half-centuries and injected hope in the run chase.

The duo added 110 runs for the third wicket but Dhoni's calculated moves ensured Chennai kept its citadel intact. Sarfaraz displayed a lot of character as he batted with composure along with Rahul to keep Chennai on its toes.

The duo looked set to take Punjab home but on a sluggish track they failed to attack the spinners and with the asking rate climbing up, the duo perished in search of quick runs.

Earlier, Chennai rode on a late flourish from Dhoni (37 no, 23b, 4x4, 1x6) and Ambati Rayudu (21 no, 15b, 1x4, 1x6) to post a competitive target of 160 for the loss of three wickets.

On a slightly two-paced surface where the ball was stopping and coming, Faf du Plessis (54, 38b, 2x4, 6x4) playing his first IPL game of the season scored a brilliant half-century. However, it was the unbeaten 60-run stand between Dhoni and Rayudu that lifted the Super Kings.

Also read: Bails don't fall, first for Dhoni and then Rahul

Dhoni and Rayudu first repaired the innings and then unleashed themselves as the duo scored 44 off the last three overs. Super Kings was off to a good start as Du Plessis and Shane Watson (26, 24, 3x4, 1x6) forged a 56-run opening stand - the highest opening wicket partnership for Super Kings this season.

While Watson was happy in rotating the strike, Du Plessis used his feet against the spinners and handled the pacers diligently.

The South African played shots on both sides of the wicket and was particularly severe on Mohammed Shami as he took 16 runs from an over. His pick of the shot was when du Plessis walked down the track and scooped a length delivery for a maximum.

The introduction of spin saw Punjab apply brakes on Super Kings as Murugan Ashwin (4-0-23-0) bowled an inspired spell and chocked both the openers. Murugan bowled a tight line with great control and that allowed the Punjab skipper to experiment.

With the fast bowlers leaking runs, Ashwin brought himself back into the attack and deceived Watson with a carrom ball as the opener perished while trying to clear the cow corner. Suresh Raina was scratchy right from the start and managed to score just 17 runs.

With Murugan not giving any room, Super Kings was under pressure to accelerate. Meanwhile, du Plessis brought up his fifty but fell immediately to the Punjab skipper.

The home team was dealt with another blow as Raina was cleaned up by Ashwin and Punjab was back in the game.

M.S. Dhoni again rescued Chennai Super Kings with a crucial knock.   -  PTI Photo

 

Dhoni and Rayudu took time to settle in and once the duo found their rhythm, the Chepauk crowd found its voice. After 18 overs, Super Kings was 127 for the loss of three wickets and even 150 was looking far- fetched.

But Dhoni broke away from the shackles by smashing Curran for a six over the deep square leg and followed up with a couple of boundaries more.

Rayudu then started the last over with a six off Shami and Dhoni collected a boundary as Super Kings soared at the death to post a competitive total. It looked like the home team may have been 15 runs short of a winning total.

But as the evening progressed, Super Kings ensured that it was enough to tame the visiting Kings XI.