Dharmsala: KXIP Punjab were always there and there about throughout this season without any individual brilliant performance and here at the HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala on Thursday a collective team effort again from the Kings of Punjab blew away the Super Kings from down South.
Vintage Adam Gilchrist 64 (46) showed up after a long injury lay back to make light work of the run chase after the seamers had ran through the Chennai line up to restrict the defending champions for a below par score of 120 on a pacer friendly wicket.
With this emphatic 6 wickets victory with 21 balls remaining, Punjab have held on to their slender chance of making it to the playoffs, though they would have to beat Delhi in their last league match for an assured berth, but more importantly the defeat meant that the Champions CSK would have to rely on three other results to make it to the top 4.
Chasing a modest total of 120, The Mohali based outfit started well as opposed to CSK who even with ODI standards had a sluggish start. Put into bat first up, CSK struggled to get to terms with the movement of the HPCA track as seamers Praveen Kumar and Ryan Harris provided a Test match like start to the proceedings.
PK picked up the wickets of openers Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey inside the 6 overs. In-form bowler Parwinder Awana continued to impress hitting the right line and length first up extracting the maximum out of the pitch as Azhar Mahmood got the crucial wicket of Suresh Raina (17) in the 8th over. After the time out, Awana scalped Dhoni (6) and later beat Jadeja (13) with pace to send the southpaw back. Morkel hit some lusty blows but a short delivery from Mahmood cut short his stay in the middle as he was cramped for space trying to pull the ball. Awana finished his spell with spectacular figures of 4-0-12-2.
But all along Dwayne Bravo (48) bit his time in the middle and patiently built on a good start only to fall in the last over.
Bravo’s innings helped Chennai reach 120 and with Gilchrist in their ranks KXIP fancied their chances of winning this one. Dhoni started off with Hilfenhaus and Morkel, but they could not emulate what Punjab pacers had done earlier. Mandeep Singh took the attack to the bowlers first up scoring 5 fours before being bowled by Albie Morkel. Saini and Hussey departed in quick succession as the talisman Bravo picked up both the wickets. Gilly showed signs of rustiness early on not able to time the ball but stayed in the middle picking up singles.
Tamil Nadu pacer Yo Mahesh, included in the CSK squad in place of Shadab Jakati was introduced into the attack by Dhoni in 12th over with equation being 45 required of 48 balls. Mahesh conceded 5 off the first over and when he came back for his second over in the 15th , all hell broke loose. Vintage Adam Gilchrist came out of the 40 year veteran’s body smashing the hapless seamer for 22 runs. Gilly started off with a FOUR as he made connection with wide short delivery down the leg side towards third man. Second ball, SIX, short one again from Yo Mahesh, this time outside off, Gilly picked the length early and launched the pull over deep midwicket. Fourth ball, FOUR again for Gilly as he clubbed the pitched up delivery straight towards long off fence. Last ball, SIX, icing on the cake, Mahesh pitched the ball at middle and leg, Gilly picked it up nicely from his legs. After that over KXIP needed 7 runs off 5 overs. That over sealed the match in favour of Kings XI Punjab.