Chennai, Apr 6 : Fighting half centuries by K L Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan went in vain as defending Champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK), thanks to good bowling by spinners, kept their home record intact, notching up its third straight win, defeating Kings XI Punjab by 22 runs in the IPL T-20 match at the M A Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday night.
Batting first on a slow wicket, CSK scored 160 for three, thanks to Faf du Plessis', playing his first match of this edition, half century (54, 38 balls, 2x4, 4x6) and a final flourish by captain cool M S Dhoni (37 not out, 23 balls, 4x4, 1x6) and his unbeaten 60 run stand with Ambati Rayudu (21 not out, 15 balls, 1x4, 1x6).
CSK scored a commanding 44 runs in the last three overs that propelled the total.
Kings XI were nearly in even terms with CSK at the end of the power play and at the end of 10 overs, but the bowlers, rose to the occasion, with a disciplined performance, and ensured that the home team register its fourth win in five matches and three on the trot at home.
Chasing a quite difficult target, Kings XI, despite a century partnership (110 in 93 balls), after losing two wickets in three balls, between Rahul 55 (47b, 3x4 1x6) and Sarfaraz Khan (67, 59b 4x4 2x6), ended up with scoring 138 for five in 20 overs, losing the plot by 22 runs. As expected, on a slow wicket, the CSK spinners made the difference combining to take 61 for four off 12 overs, with veteran Harbhajan Singh leading from the front with two wickets in the second over of the innings, which also turned out to be a maiden.
Despite the Rahul and Sarfaraz stand, Kings XI were left with too much too score and and fell short of the target despite having five wickets in their hand. At the end of ten overs, Kings XI were 71 for two against CSK's71 for one and at the end of 15 overs, there was nothing much to separate both the teams as scoreline was very close with the home team at 108 for three and the visitors at 105 for two.
But the equation dramatically changed in the final five overs, where the CSk flourished and Kings XI floundered, as CSK spinners Harbhajan and the veteran Imran Tahir choked the batsmen, before Kiwi speedster Scott Kuggeleijn, despite conceding 34 in the first three overs, bowled well in the final over, when Kings required an improbable 26 runs. As the asking rate kept increasing, There was some drama, when fast bowler Deepak Chahar, who could not grip the ball, bowled two high full tosses leading to two Free Hits, prompting Dhoni to make some hard talk with the bowler, in the penultimate over.
Dhoni's wise advise proved decisive as Chahar castled dangerous David Miller and conceded 13 runs in the over. But Kuggeleijn's last over ensured that CSK romped home an emphatic winner, handing out local boy and Kings XI captain R Ashwin's maiden match against his former home team, the loss. While defending, it was a great start for CSK as Harbhajan, who was adjudged as the Man of the Match for his economical bowling, with loads of experience, started with a double wicket maiden
over, getting rid of big hitting Jamaican Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal in three balls.
After Gayle edged to Dhoni goving for an expansive drive by playing away from the body, Mayank played a poor shot holing out to Faf du Plessis at long on.
Then came the century stand between Rahul and Sarfaraz, but the visitors faltered at the final stretch unable to cope up with the mounting run rate and tackle the spinners.
Following is the scoreboard :
Kings XI, Punjab:
K L Rahul c Jadeja b Kuggeleijn 55
Chris Gayle c Dhoni b Harbhajan 5
Mayank Agarwal c Faf du Plessis b Harbhajan 0
Sarfaraz Khan c Faf du Plessis b Kuggelejin 67
David Miller b Deepak Chahar 6
Mandeep Singh (not out) 1
Sam Curran (not out) 0
Extras: (nb-2, w-2) 4
Total : 138 for five in 20 overs.
Fall of wickets : 1-7, 2-7, 3-117, 4-135, 5-137.
Deepak Chahar 4-0-40-1
Harbhajan Singh 4-1-17-2
Scott Kuggeleijn 4-0-37-2
Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-24-0
Imran Tahir 4-0-20-0.