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It turned out to be another disappointing day at the office for Kings XI Punjab, as Chennai Super Kings’ seasoned openers made light work of the chase in the 2020 Dream11 Indian Premier League. KL Rahul’s half century went in vain at the Dubai International Stadium, as CSK managed a 10-wicket victory to lift themselves off the bottom of the table. 

Opting to bat first, Kings XI Punjab once again got off to a flying start, as both KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal continued their fine form in the tournament. This time around, it was Captain Punjab who started off more aggressive, getting two exquisite boundaries of Sam Curran’s bowling to push the score to 38 without loss after five overs. 

The partnership continued to thrive post the powerplay as well, as the Karnataka boys put on their third 50 plus stand for IPL 2020. Mayank Agarwal too began playing his shots, welcoming Shardul Thakur’s bowling with a handsome four on the leg side. The introduction of Piyush Chawla however brought the breakthrough for Chennai, as Agarwal couldn’t get the distance on his lofted shot, handing an easy catch to Sam Curran at deep mid-wicket. 

The wicket curbed the KXIP scoring rate temporarily, as new man Mandeep Singh- who was on debut for IPL 2020, and KL Rahul shrewdly negotiated the spinners, getting 10 runs of the next couple of overs. Mandeep switched gears shortly after, as he targeted the leg spin of Chawla to get two mammoth sixes on the leg side. 

Ravindra Jadeja however thwarted Mandeep’s onslaught shortly after, as he tossed one outside off-stump to entice the 28-year-old to play a rash shot straight to a fielder. Mandeep was replaced by Nicholas Pooran, who didn’t take long to settle in, getting a four and a six off Jadeja’s last over to push the team score to 114/2 after 14 overs. 

With six overs to go, Rahul finally decided to break the shackles, getting to his fifty with a six on the off-side of Thakur’s bowling. He followed that up with back-to-back boundaries, laying the foundation for a strong finish. Pooran obliged from the other end, getting two sixes in the next couple of overs to push the team score past 150. 

The southpaw however fell in the next over, thanks to a smart high catch from Jadeja. Rahul too fell next ball, this time courtesy a low catch by keeper MS Dhoni. New players Sarfaraz Khan and Glen Maxwell didn’t let the run rate drop for Punjab, getting three boundaries amongst them to finish with a strong score of 178/4.

Turning Point

The 18th over of the KXIP innings saw both KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran sent back to the pavilion, and that ended up making the difference and KXIP didn’t a strong finish to their innings.

In reply, Chennai Super Kings started off brightly, as openers Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis began playing their shots from the get go. The Australian all-rounder was the more aggressive, getting three fours off Sheldon Cottrell’s bowling. Du Plessis joined in on the partnership, getting four boundaries in the final powerplay over to push the team score to 60 for no loss. 

The openers continued to pile on the runs even after the powerplay, targeting the inexperienced spinners of KXIP- Harpreet Brar and Ravi Bishnoi. They got atleast one four in the three overs post the powerplay, getting the run rate at more than 10 an over. CSK put on their 100 run stand in the 10th over, looking completely in control of the chase. 

Watson got to his fifty shortly after, with a powerful cover drive off Chris Jordan’s bowling. In the same over, Du Plessis also got his half century, with a single towards third man. The young spinners provided two economical overs for Punjab to lift the required run rate up again, but with no wickets lost, CSK still remained in firm control. The 14th over again went for runs, as Shane Watson got his second six of the evening to leave his team needing 44 of the last six. 

Harpreet Brar’s last over again proved costly, as Chennai picked up 15 runs of it to reduce the equation to less than a run a ball for the first time. Jordan’s penultimate over too went for runs, as Du Plessis got two fours on the off-side to get Chennai closer towards that win.  

With the equation in single figures, Du Plessis got a one-handed six, and followed that up with a four to get a resounding 10-wicket victory on the night. 

Kings XI Punjab play their next game on Thursday, October 8 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.