Chennai Super Kings ended up victorious in a close contest against Kings XI Punjab, with the visitors falling short by 22 runs courtesy some good bowling by the hosts’ spin arsenal on Saturday.


On a hot and sultry afternoon at Chennai’s M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, captain Ravichandran Ashwin’s Kings XI Punjab team were asked to field first with CSK in the mood to pile on some quick runs in the powerplay.

A breezy 26 came off the second and third overs with the openers continuing to build on the early momentum, hitting Andrew Tye next for 18 runs off his maiden over and getting 54 runs in powerplay. However, the KXIP spinners dragged them back into the game, with Murugan Ashwin giving away only one run off the seventh over while his namesake sent Shane Watson packing in the next. The wicket managed to slow down the hosts’ run rate, with Murugan bowling three overs and giving away just 12 runs.

Sadda Sher

Captain Ravichandran Ashwin was the star performer for the visitors, bowling an audacious spell of 3/23 off his four overs on his return to Chennai. He also picked up the prized wickets of both CSK openers.

The constant pressure from the visitors led to a mistake by the other opener Faf du Plessis as he miscued a shot off Ravi Ashwin’s bowling and ended up being caught at long on soon after his fifty. The KXIP skipper then dismissed Suresh Raina off the very next ball, ending with staggering figures of 3/23 on his return to Chepauk.

Kings XI Punjab continued the pressure, with Tye bowling a splendid 16th over, giving away only two runs which meant that his team had given away only 56 runs in the 10 overs post the powerplay. Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni though finally switched gears in the 19th over, smashing Sam Curran for two fours and a six. The hosts then scored 14 runs off the last over to set a target of 161 for Kings XI.   

Unha De Sher

Harbhajan Singh bowled a beautiful spell of 2/17 in his quota of four overs. Opening the bowling for the hosts, he dismissed the dangerous Chris Gayle for single figures for the first time this year while also picking up the wicket of Mayank Agarwal.

In reply, the Shers lost the explosive Chris Gayle early on as Harbhajan Singh spun his web. They then lost Mayank Agarwal two balls later, with the score reading 7/2 after two overs.

KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan though steadied the ship for the visitors, with the former scoring two fours and a six off Deepak Chahar’s third over. The CSK spinners though managed to slow down the Kings XI scoring rate, with only nine runs being conceded in the two overs post the batting powerplay. Imran Tahir in particular was looking menacing, giving away just 10 off his first two.

The KXIP batters though targeted pacer Scott Kuggelejin, scoring 16 runs off his second over and getting the required rate a little under control, with the visitors now needing 70 runs off the last eight. Rahul then nudged a ball to bring up Kings XI Punjab’s highest ever partnership for the 2019 VIVO Indian Premier League season, surpassing Gayle and Khan’s stand of 84 runs that they achieved in their first game.

Turning Point

Kuggelejin’s 18th over proved to be the turning point in the game as the Kiwi seamer managed to give away only seven runs while dismissing the well-set KL Rahul.

A couple of overs later, Khan slotted a Tahir delivery onto long off to get his maiden fifty in the IPL. Despite achieving these milestones, Kings XI were falling behind in the chase due to the economical bowling of the CSK spinners; and now needed 46 off the last three overs.

The pressure created by the spinners showed on the Kings XI batters, as Rahul ended up miscuing his shot and got caught at deep mid-wicket in the 18th over. However, Khan kept the visitors in the hunt by scoring a boundary and a double off two Chahar beamers. The seamer though came back brilliantly, giving away only three runs off the next four deliveries while also picking up the wicket of new man David Miller.

The visitors now needed 26 off the last over; and ultimately fell short by 23 runs as Chennai Super Kings extended their unbeaten home run.