It was a day to forget for Punjab Kings in their second game of the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League, as they were humbled by former champions Chennai Super Kings. MS Dhoni’s side made light work chasing down an underpar 107, getting there with six wickets to spare to get their first points on the board on Friday at the Wankhede Stadium.
Asked to bat first, Punjab Kings got off to a horrid start as Mayank Agarwal was dismissed without scoring in the very first over. New man Chris Gayle tried to get his team going, hitting Deepak Chahar for back-to-back boundaries, but his partner KL Rahul had to head back early, thanks to a brilliant direct hit by Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja’s fielding heroics were on display once again in the next over, as he took a splendid low catch to send the Universe Boss packing for a paltry score. Things got even worse for Punjab Kings, as new man Nicholas Pooran also couldn’t open his account, falling prey to Chahar’s short ball. The Chennai Super Kings dominated the powerplay, as the scoreboard read 26/4 for the batting side.
Chahar’s evening got even better, as he ended his spell with a maiden-wicket, sending the in-form Deepak Hooda back to the pavilion. All-rounder Shahrukh Khan however gave Punjab something to cheer about, as he hit Jadeja for a six and Shardul Thakur for a four to get his team’s run rate closer to six.
Shahrukh and fellow batsman Jhye Richardson however tried to get a partnership going, dealing in singles and doubles with the field spread out. In the 12th over, Richardson tried his first aggressive shot off the bowling of Moeen Ali, but missed it completely to see the ball crash into the stumps.
Despite seeing wickets tumble around him, Shahrukh tried to steady the ship as he scored a couple more boundaries against the Chennai bowlers. New man Murugan Ashwin tried to support his partner with a big shot of his own, but miscued it completely to find Faf du Plessis on the edge of the infield.
Shahrukh’s strong vigil too came to an end in the final over, as he was out caught in the deep for 46, narrowly missing out on a maiden IPL fifty. Punjab Kings ended their innings at 106/8, giving their bowlers a real uphill task to salvage something from this game.
The third Deepak Chahar over proved to be the game changer in this game as Punjab lost both Gayle and Pooran, and never really recovered from that.
With the ball in hand, Punjab Kings started off brightly as the first three overs yielded just eight runs. Faf du Plessis took his chances in the fourth over however, getting a four and a six off Richardson’s bowling.
Arshdeep Singh gave Punjab the first breakthrough shortly after, as a well directed short ball surprised opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, and his pull shot fell kindly into the hands of the fielder at deep mid-wicket. New man Moeen Ali however began playing his shots right from the get go, scoring a few couple boundaries to end the powerplay at 32/1.
Moeen continued his attack against spin, as Murugan Ashwin’s first over went for 10 runs to push Chennai’s team score past 50 after nine overs. Ashwin’s second over also proved expensive, as CSK kept chipping away at that total without any further loss in the wickets column.
The English all-rounder continued to pick the gaps, getting two fours off Shami’s penultimate over to get his team even closer. Shortly after, Moeen got the first six of the evening, once again going after the spin of Murugan Ashwin. The leggie however had the last laugh, as Moeen was caught in the deep while attempting a big shot a ball later, leaving Chennai at 95/2 after 13 overs.
Late on, Mohammed Shami gave his team something to cheer about as he claimed the wickets of Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu on successive deliveries. New man Sam Curran however ensured there weren't any further hiccups, as he dispatched Meredith for a boundary on the leg side to get his team over the line, with four overs to spare.
Punjab Kings play their next game on Sunday against the Delhi Capitals.