IPL 2020: Gaikwad, Ngidi shine as Chennai knocks out Punjab

Kings XI Punjab was eliminated from the IPL 2020 playoff race after suffering a comprehensive nine-wicket defeat to Chennai Super Kings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Ruturaj Gaikwad hit his third consecutive fifty in IPL 2020.   -  BCCI/IPL

Kings XI Punjab was eliminated from the IPL 2020 playoff race after suffering a comprehensive nine-wicket defeat to Chennai Super Kings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Sunday. CSK, the first team to exit the playoff race, ended its campaign on a positive note, recording its third successive win.

Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad once again showed his mettle, scoring his third half-century in as many games. His unbeaten 62 off 49 balls (6x4, 1x6) helped CSK chase down 154 with ease. The young opener showed great composure and awareness, even preferring to play second fiddle when Faf du Plessis (48, 34b, 4x4, 2x6) went after the Punjab bowlers. The duo added 82 for the opening wicket.

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Calm innings

Gaikwad kept things simple by picking boundaries without taking risks. His innings saw some exquisitely timed drives through cover and some deft cuts behind square against the two leg-spinners – M. Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi.

Earlier, put in to bat, KXIP squandered a good start from openers KL Rahul (29) and Mayank Agarwal (26) and lost the plot in the middle phase of the game. Only Deepak Hooda’s 30-ball 62 salvaged things and ensured a total of 153 for six.

Agarwal and Rahul went after CSK pacers Deepak Chahar and Sam Curran before Lungi Ngidi struck in quick succession by rearranging both openers’ stumps. While Agarwal dragged a slower one on to his wicket, Rahul tried to sweep a slow full delivery and missed it completely.

From 48 for no loss, KXIP slumped to 72 for four. From the eighth to the 13th overs, KXIP could not find a single boundary with Imran Tahir choking the flow of runs with figures of 3-0-12-1.

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Late onslaught

Hooda, however, gave Punjab hope with some sensational hitting. The Baroda batsman was especially harsh on Ngidi, smashing him for three sixes and a boundary. The South African tried to bowl wide outside off-stump and was taken to the cleaners. However, the momentum lost in the middle-overs was too much for Hooda to bridge.

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