IPL: Punjab clinch thriller against Chennai

Nishad Vellur

Chennai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men suffered a batting collapse in their chase of 156 as they lost an Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Kings XI Punjab by seven runs in their own backyard on Saturday.

As it happened » I Points table »

Opting to bat first, Punjab set Chennai a fighting target of 156. In fact, they could have added more to what they actually did had it not been for some good bowling and fielding by the Chennai boys at the death.

Chennai Super King’s chase led by Faf du Plessis and S Badrinath took off well with runs coming thick and fast. Unfortunately, some changes in the batting proved costly for the host team in their chase, the most notable being the decision to promote Saha to number four. He struggled in the middle, scoring six off 14. Dwayne Bravo did give some hope in the end with a few big hits, but only to fizzle out soon. He fell to Praveen Kumar after scoring 30 off 21 balls.

For Punjab, Azhar Mahmood shone with the ball and ended the proceedings with a spell that read 4-0-25-3. His victims included F du Plessis, Badrinath and Morkel and that more or less turned the game into Punjab’s favour.

In the absence of regular captain Adam Gilchrist, David Hussey was in charge of Kings XI Punjab. They could not capitalise on the good start provided by their openers to make a huge total, as they faced some excellent fielding from the Chennai team. Still, a total of 156/8 was quiet a competitive one. Earlier, Hussey decided to promote in-form Shaun Marsh in the top order, which did help their cause. Just when they thought they had found their perfect opening combination, Ashwin ran out Marsh.

A lucky Ashwin got his finger on a powerful Mandeep shot. He tried to stop it but deflected off and went on to hit the stumps. Marsh was nowhere near the crease. By then he scored 32 off 22 balls. However, Mandeep Singh’s 50-ball 56 was crucial in Punjab’s total and the effort earned him Man of the Match award.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni kept changing his bowling combinations looking for another breakthrough. He tried six of his bowlers before reaching ten overs. In the 12th over of the innings Bravo struck to remove Azhar Mahmood, who looked dangerous with two back-to-back sixes in the previous over. He pitched the ball pitched outside off and trapped Azhar Mahmood in front of the off stump.

Punjab lost six wickets in the last five overs and managed to score only 35 runs.

Teams: Kings XI Punjab: Nitin Saini(w), Mandeep Singh, Shaun Marsh, David Hussey(c), David Miller, Azhar Mahmood, Bipul Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Bhargav Bhatt, Parvinder Awana.

Chennai Super Kings: S Badrinath, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shadab Jakati.

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