KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan's half-centuries went in vain as MS Dhoni-led Chennai successfully defended a target of 161 runs to clinch a 22-run victory over Ravichandran Ashwin-led Punjab in a thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
Opting to bat first, Chennai posted a respectable total of 160-3, thanks to Faf du Plessis 54-run knock and MS Dhoni's unbeaten knock of 37 runs off just 23 balls.
In reply, Punjab lost openers Chris Gayle (five) and first drop Mayank Agarwal (five) cheaply before Rahul (55) and Sarfaraz (67) completed a century stand for the third wicket to bring their side on the verge of the victory.
However, the Chennai bowlers held their nerves to restrict Punjab to 138 for five in 20 overs.
Here are the highlights:
# Chennai beat Punjab by 22 runs! Punjab 138/5 (20 overs)
# Punjab need 26 runs off six balls!
# Wicket! Chahar gave away eight easy runs to Punjab by bowling two no-balls before he made amendments and bowled out Miller for six in the last delivery of the over. Punjab 135/4 (19 overs)
# David Miller is the new batsman in!
# Wicket! Kuggeleijn bagged his maiden IPL wicket by removing Rahul for 55. Kuggeleijn bowled a slower length ball outside off and Rahul went for a pull, only to hand a simple catch to Jadeja at deep midwicket. Punjab 122/3 (18 overs)
# Sarfaraz and KL Rahul have brought up half-century each as Punjab now need 46 runs off 18 balls. The Indian opener drove the third delivery from Harbhajan in the 17th over towards long-on to not only notch up an IPL fifty but also complete a 100-run stand with Sarfaraz. Punjab 115/2 (17 overs)
# Kuggeleijn bowled another expensive over, giving away 16 runs to Punjab before Jadeja concedes just five runs. Rahul (42) and Sarfaraz (47) are moving towards half-centuries as Punjab need just 65 runs from 42 balls. Punjab 96/2 (13 overs)
# 8 runs off the last two overs. Punjab require 86 runs from 54 balls. Punjab 75/2 (11 overs)
# Rahul (34) and Sarfaraz (27) have somewhat steadied the ship for Punjab after two early blows. The duo has managed to bring up a half-century stand for the third wicket to reduce the deficit the gap to 94 runs from 11 overs. Punjab 67/2 (9 overs)
# Scotto Kuggeleijn conceded 11 runs, including a six to Sarfaraz, on his IPL debut before Jadeja bowled a tight three-run over. Punjab need 112 more runs from 13 overs remaining. Punjab 49/2 (7 overs)
# 16 runs off the last over. Rahul drove the first delivery from Chahar straight of mid-on for four runs before he smashed the Chennai bowler for a boundary and a maximum on successive deliveries. Punjab need 126 runs from 15 overs. Punjab 35/2 (5 overs)
# Sarfaraz Khan is the new batsman for Punjab!
# Wicket! Harbhajan Singh was called into the attack and he delivered in his very first over by removing Gayle (five) and Mayank Agarwal (duck). While the Caribbean star was caught by MS Dhoni behind the stumps off Harbhajan's fourth delivery of the second over, Agarwal was taken at long-on by du Plessis. Punjab 7/2 (2 overs)
# Seven runs off the very first over. Chahar opened his account by guiding the second delivery straight of mid-on for one run, while Gayle got off the mark by diving a Chahar delivery between short third man and backward point for four runs. Punjab 7/0 (1 over)
# Chris Gayle and KL Rahul set to begin Punjab's chase. Deepak Chahar opens the attack for Chennai.
# Innings Break!
# MS Dhoni (37) and Rayudu (21) added 33 runs off the last two overs to post a competitive total of 160-3 in their stipulated 20 overs. Chennai 160/3 (20 overs)
# Seven runs off the 15th over before Tye bowled a tight next over to give only two runs to the hosts. MS Dhoni (two) and Rayudu (8) are currently batting at the crease and are looking to add as many runs as possible with just four overs of play remaining. Chennai 110/3 (16 overs)
# Ambati Rayudu and skipper MS Dhoni come to bat for Chennai!
# Wicket! Ashwin seemed to be on a roll today as he removed Du Plessis (54) and Raina (17) in successive deliveries to pile pressure on Chennai. Du Plessis was caught by Adam Miller at long-on off the third delivery of 14th over, before Ashwin bowled out Raina with a length ball. Chennai 101/3 (14 overs)
# 14 runs off the last two overs, including a boundary from Raina. Du Plessis (38) continue to remain solid at the crease despite Watson's dismissal and the South African is looking for good support from Suresh Raina (12) at the other end. Chennai 78/1 (11 overs)
# Tye returns to the attack!
# Suresh Raina is the new batsman in!
# Wicket! Ravichandran Ashwin gave the much-needed breakthrough to Punjab by removing the big wicket of Watson (26). The Australian batsman went for a slog-sweep off the second delivery of the 8th over, but got a top edge of the bat to hand an easy catch to Curran at deep midwicket. Chennai 56/1 (7.2 overs)
# Watson (26) and du Plessis (28) continue to remain strong at the crease as they have guided Chennai past 50-run score. Chennai 55/ 0 (7 overs)
# Murugan Ashwin brought into the attack!
# Curran conceded just three runs before Andrew Tye was called into the attack and he bowled an expensive 18-run over. Watson (21) and du Plessis (27) are dealing with boundaries and sixes as Chennai quickly move towards 50-run mark. Chennai 47/0 (5 overs)
# Sam Curran comes into the attack!
# 22 runs off the last two overs, including three boundaries and a six. Watson (8) smashed the first boundary of the match off Ashwin's third delivery in the second over, while Du Plessis (17) hit Shami for back-to-back boundaries before sending the final delivery of the third over short fine leg for a maximum. Chennai 26/0 (3 overs)
# Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin to share the new ball!
# A tight first over from Shami as he conceded just four runs to Chennai, three via ball. While Watson got off the mark by knocking the second delivery into space at midwicket for one run, Du Plessis too opened his account with a single off the fourth delivery. Chennai 4/0 (1 over)
# Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis have walked down the crease to open the batting for Chennai. Mohammad Shami begins the proceedings for Punjab.
# Chennai have made three changes in their Playing XI. While Scott Kuggeleijn has been handed his IPL debut, Harbhajan Singh and Faf du Plessis are called in for the match against Punjab.
# Chris Gayle and Andrew Tye have returned to Punjab's Playing XI in place of Hardus Viljoen and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, respectively.
Chennai: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Scott Kuggeleijn, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir
Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Sam Curran, R Ashwin (capt), M Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Mohammed Shami
# MS Dhoni has won the toss and opted to bat first against Punjab!
# The toss is all set to take place in a few minutes!
After slumping to their first defeat of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) against Mumbai, MS Dhoni-led Chennai will look to bounce back strongly and get back to winning ways when they take on Punjab at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
Both the teams will head into the clash with three wins from four games they have played so far.
Chennai registered three successive wins against Bangalore, Delhi and Rajasthan before suffering a 37-run loss at the hands of Rohit Sharma's Mumbai in the last match.
Ravichandran Ashwin-led Punjab, on the other hand, sealed victories against Rajasthan, Kolkata and Delhi while their only defeat in the 2019 IPL so far also came against Mumbai.
However, Punjab are currently standing a place above Chennai at the second spot because of a better net run rate.
Meanwhile, the pitch at the Chepauk will be in focus yet again after it drew criticism from both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli after Bangalore were bowled out cheaply for 70 runs in the opening match of the tournament.
It will be interesting to see whether hard-hitting Caribbean batsman Chris Gayle will make a return to Punjab's Playing XI after missing the side's clash against Delhi due to a back injury.
For Chennai, all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is doubtful for the game against Ashwin's side agyet sustaining a hamstring injury against Mumbai.
The two teams are as follows:
Chennai: MS Dhoni (captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk), Scott Kuggeleign.
Punjab: Ravichandran Ashwin (capt), Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Mayank Agrawal, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, David Miller, Sam Curran, Varun Chakaravarthy, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques, Hardus Viljoen, Darshan Nalkande, Sarfaraz Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, Murugan Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Mandeep Singh, Simran Singh.