Chennai: Chennai Super Kings were back to winning ways after a phenomenal display in the death overs saw them defend 160 and beat Kings XI Punjab by 22 runs on Saturday.
Half-centuries to KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan had led KXIP’s charge but either batsmen failed to accelerate towards the end.
With 46 needed off the last three, Scott Kuggeleijn, who had conceded 27 in his first two overs, gave away just seven and accounted for the wicket of a set Rahul.
In the penultimate over, Deepak Chahar lost his line and length and sent down two waist-high full-toss but wasn’t taken off the attack since both were outside off. What transpired from there on could very well be the turning point. The remaining over, he gave away five singles and sent David Miller’s leg stump cartwheeling. Kuggeleijn returned to provide the finishing touches as CSK reclaimed the No. 1 spot on the leaderboard.
Sarfaraz and Rahul had come together after Harbhajan Singh had landed two early blows to KXIP in their chase. Bowling the second over, the offspinner had Chris Gayle out caught behind – his third dismissal of the West Indies batsman in T20s – and two balls later dismissed Mayank Agarwal after he miscued Harbhajan at long-on. KXIP were reduced to 8 for 2.
Rahul and Sarfaraz played the ball on its merit and made steady progress. Rahul’s first sign of aggression arrived in the fifth over when he took apart Chahar. The opener took 16 off his second over with two fours and a six. With the asking rate under control, Rahul was content rotating the strike and play out spinners safely.
Earlier, CSK had taken 44 off the final three overs, courtesy MS Dhoni’s late burst. And that is where KXIP probably lost the plot.
Faf du Plessis’ half-century, aided by Dhoni’s late assault lifted CSK to a competitive 160/3 against Kings XI Punjab at the Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
Dhoni arrived at the crease in the 14th over, after KXIP captain R Ashwin had finished a fine spell of 3 for 23, and after stuttering initially, the CSK skipper, along with Ambati Rayudu, took 44 off the last three overs.
Playing his first game of the season, du Plessis opened the innings alongside Shane Watson and the pair provided CSK a rollicking start by putting 56 runs.