The Punjab Kings sealed an 11-run win in a nail-biter against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. Ambati Rayudu’s 78 (39) gave the PBKS a real scare before the bowlers pulled things back with a death overs masterclass.
For PBKS, Player of the Match Shikhar Dhawan shone with the bat with an 88* (59) while Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh shone with the ball, registering numbers of 2/23 and 1/23 respectively.
The Chennai Super Kings put the Punjab Kings in to bat first. The latter huffed and puffed before pushing up the total with all their might to put up a challenging number on the scoreboard. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Sandeep Sharma made a comeback into the playing XI while Rishi Dhawan played for the first time in the Tata IPL 2022.
The PBKS openers got off to a cautious start, scoring just 37/1 in six overs, losing skipper Mayank Agarwal just before the end of the powerplay. Rajapaksa joined the other opener Shikhar Dhawan in the middle. The Sri Lankan was aggressive at the start but after being dropped twice - on 1 and 5, he settled down.
While the duo steadily built a partnership, they also ticked off multiple personal milestones. The Sri Lankan touched 2000 T20 runs while Dhawan pocketed quite a few - crossed 6000 IPL runs and 9000 T20 runs and became the first player to score 1000 runs against Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
The pair put up 110 runs for the second wicket off just 69 deliveries before Rajapaksa departed for 42 (32). This partnership laid the foundation for Liam Livingstone to come and play a vital cameo of 19 (7), including one four and two sixe, before being dismissed off the first delivery of the last over.
A six from Dhawan and a four from new batter Jonny Bairstow took the team to a commendable total of 187/4. The PBKS opener finished with a well-curated 88* (59), the highest score for anybody in their 200th IPL game. His knock was studded with nine fours and two sixes and he struck at 149.15.
PBKS started their defence well after a Sandeep Sharma short delivery swung in to deceive Robin Uthappa to play a pull, mishit it and land it close enough to the mid-wicket for the fielder to safely collect it. Sharma’s first over on comeback read 0, 0, 0, 0, W, 1, and CSK were at 11/1 in two overs.
The PBKS bowlers did well to curb the flow of runs, allowing CSK to only put up 32/2 in the powerplay, with Arshdeep Singh accounting for Mitchell Santner’s wicket, sending the southpaw wildcard away for a meagre 9 (15).
Soon, Rishi Dhawan joined the party and knocked over the stumps behind Shivam Dube, seeing him off for 8 (7), and Ambati Rayudu joined the other opener Ruturaj Gaikwad in the middle. At the halfway mark, CSK were at 69/3.
After five wicketless overs, Kagiso Rabada struck, taking out a rusty Gaikwad for 30 (27). However, his partner was going strong and steady at the crease and was joined by captain Ravindra Jadeja in the middle of the 13th over, which ended with a score of 90/4.
With the equation down to 98 needed off 42, Rayudu took it upon himself to unleash a flurry of boundaries. In the next three overs, CSK did well to score 13, 15 and then 23 runs to dramatically turn the game around. At the end of the 16th, Jadeja had only scored four runs and faced seven deliveries, while Rayudu stood tall at 75* (33).
After a six-run over from Arshdeep, CSK needed 41 in 18 balls. Kagiso Rabada followed up Arshdeep’s good show with another six-run over and additionally claimed the wicket of the dangerous Rayudu, finally seeing him off for 78 (39). He ended with incredible figures of 4-0-23-2.
Arshdeep then finished his four-over quota giving away just seven of his last, the penultimate over of the game, and ended with very impressive figures of 4-0-23-1.
PBKS had 27 runs to defend off the last six deliveries and skipper Agarwal entrusted that responsibility to Rishi Dhawan. A six and a wide later, Rishi made a good comeback. He bowled a dot to put pressure on the batter, took out MS Dhoni off the next delivery, and allowed just a single when CSK needed 20 off 3, sealing the game mathematically.
The Punjab Kings finished with a thrilling 11-run win over the Chennai Super Kings, bringing in their second win against them in the Tata IPL 2022.
Agarwal and Co. now have moved to the sixth position on the points table with eight points in eight games. The team will next face Lucknow Super Giants on April 29 and will look to extend their winning run.