Kings XI Punjab clinched their second win of the VIVO IPL 2018 after they defeated the Chennai Super Kings by 4 runs at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. Batting first, KXIP rode on Chris Gayle’s half-century and contributions from several of their batsmen to post a challenging 197-7. Early wickets by the KXIP bowlers put the visitors under pressure very early in the run-chase. But MS Dhoni launched an unbelievable onslaught in the last three overs to bring his team back into the contest. Despite Dhoni’s blitz, CSK finished their 20 overs at 193-5 – five runs of what they needed.
Standout batting performances
Chris Gayle announced himself in Kings XI Punjab colours with a typical stroke-filled 63. The Jamaican, a list minute pick at the auction, did not feature in the KXIP line-up in the first two matches, but given an opportunity on Sunday evening, he demolished the Chennai Super Kings bowling attack. Gayle did not get any strike in the first over, but when he got the opportunity to put bat on ball, he did not waste time to make an impact; the first ball he faced, he drove the off-spinner Harbhajan Singh through covers signalling intentions that he meant business. The off-spinner was at the receiving end in the fourth over too, when Gayle sent one crashing to the point boundary and hit him out of the park the next delivery.
Gayle collected two boundaries off Shardul Thakur in the fifth over and punished Deepak Chahar next, collecting two sixes and two fours in the sixth over. By the time the powerplay has elapsed, the KXIP opener had raced to 46 from 21 balls. In the seventh, he hammered one straight back over Imran Tahir, in the process reaching 50 off 22 balls. The Universe Boss slowed down thereafter, but went on to make 63 before Shane Watson strangled him down the legside with a short-pitched delivery; Gayle hit seven fours and four sixes in his 33-ball knock.
After the turn of Dwayne Bravo and Sam Billings, it was the turn of MS Dhoni to do the rescue job for the Chennai Super Kings’. The CSK skipper battled a bad back, yet persevered, packed some punch in his strokes and ran hard between the wickets, in the process registering his career-best score in T20 cricket. As has been the case with Dhoni in recent times, he began slowly; he was 38 from 30 balls at the end of 17 overs – by which time the required rate had reached 18.33. That was the moment Dhoni decided it was time to launch. In the eighteenth over, he collected a boundary and a six off Mohit Sharma and got past the 50-run mark. In the nineteenth, he hit Andrew Tye for two sixes and a four, and in the final over he hit Mohit Sharma for a six and a four, to finish unbeaten on 79. Dhoni had scored 41 off the last 14 balls he faced..
Notable Support Act - Batting
The three Karnataka lads in the KXIP line-up made useful contributions – KL Rahul’s 22-ball 37 the most fluent among them. Opening the innings, there were times when Rahul caressed the ball to collect boundaries; there were other occasions when he picked the length early and adjusted his footwork to put the ball away. Mayank Agarwal, batting at number three, hit one four and two sixes in his 19-ball 30, while Karun Nair made 29 from 17 balls batting at six.
For CSK, Ambati Rayudu, who slipped to number three, made a useful contribution; he made 49 from 35 balls, and hit five boundaries and a six before he was run out by a direct hit scored by Ashwin. Rayudu was involved in a 57-run stand with Dhoni that was chiefly responsible in keeping CSK alive in the contest.
Standout bowling performance
As was pointed out by MS Dhoni at the post-match presentation, the bowling performance that hurt CSK most was that of Mujeeb ur Rahman. On a day when all other bowlers came in for stick, KXIP’s Afghan import bowled his three overs for 18 runs, becoming the most economical bowler in the match.
Mohit Sharma conceded 47 runs in his four overs, but he bowled two excellent (match-winning deliveries) in the final over. When CSK needed 11 off the final 3 balls, Mohit bowled the fourth ball full and just above the wide-line; Dhoni couldn’t make contact and the equation had changed to 11 from 2 balls. The following delivery was full and wide too, which Dhoni could only drill to sweeper cover. Given the eventual difference between the two teams was one stroke, those two deliveries by Mohit were absolute gold.
Stat of the Match
Chris Gayle had only two scoring strokes behind the wickets; he collected a boundary through where slip would have been and collected another boundary through fine-leg. A significant portion of his remaining 55 runs were scored in the traditional ‘V’.
KXIP’s 4-run win was the narrowest margin by which any team had defeated the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 197-7 (Chris Gayle 63, KL Rahul 37, Imran Tahir 2-34) beat Chennai Super Kings 193-5 (MS Dhoni 50, Ambati Rayudu 49) by 4 runs
Man of the Match: Chris Gayle, for his 32-ball 63, which contained 7 fours & 4 sixes.