Chennai Super Kings’ winning run over was ended by Kings XI Punjab on Sunday in IPL 2018. The match as usual went down to the last over, but Punjab bowlers held their nerve and defeated CSK by four runs. The match had quite a few ebbs and flows and Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin masterminded a strategic win over his former team and with that CSK’s destiny with last over wins also came to a close.
Here are 5 moments that helped KXIP beat CSK:
1. Chris Gayle proving ‘form is temporary but class is permanent’:
Universe boss i.e. Chris Gayle was warming the benches for the first couple of matches but got his chance in this match and he grabbed it with both hands. The Calypso master scored a magnificent 63 off 33 and was ably supported by KL Rahul and gave KXIP a bludgeoning start. Gayle might be getting on with the age, but that timing and brute force is still there and what can you say about that infectious smile.
Punjab took the punt and played Gayle and it paid off quite well. Ravichandran Ashwin had promised that he will be an unusual captain and by playing Gayle he proved his point.
2: KXIP struggling in middle overs and CSK bowlers fighting back:
After a blazing start by Gayle and Rahul, Punjab were 115/1 after 10 overs and were possibly looking at something in the range of 220-230 runs. But, Punjab lost their way in the middle overs and lost wickets of Mayank Agarwal, Yuvraj Singh and Aaron Finch (another golden duck) in quick succession. The innings lost all its momentum and Punjab had yet another slide.
Chennai Super Kings’ bowling attack might not be box-office, but after earlier blitzkrieg, bowlers regrouped and contained Kings XI to 197/7. Punjab, as it turned out, got enough in the end, but the team again lacked professionalism and Ashwin must be a tad disappointed.
3. CSK are missing Faf du Plessis and injured Suresh Raina big time:
When you chase such a big target, you need a fast start, but CSK’s top three of Shane Watson, Murali Vijay and Ambati Rayudu started quite badly and after six overs CSK were 53/2. Chennai are missing quite a few big players in Faf du Plessis and injured Suresh Raina and no disrespect to Watson and Vijay but most teams would be comfortable bowling to these two rather than du Plessis and Raina.
4. Mahendra ‘Thala’ Dhoni’s superlative knock goes in vain:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is 36 years of age and every time he fails to perform, people criticise him like anything. But like Gayle, Dhoni proved his mettle and despite nursing an injured back scored an unbeaten 79 off 44 balls and almost won the game for Chennai.
When Dhoni came into bat, asking rate was going out of bounds and he almost pulled off the heist without being less than 100%. Dhoni’s form augurs well for CSK and people should never write ‘Thala’ off.
5. Kings XI Punjab showing character:
KXIP have always been a team, which snatches defeat from the jaws of victory and it was refreshing to see Punjab bowlers showing spine and standing up against pressure. Ashwin again rotated his bowlers quite well and kept CSK batsmen guessing. Punjab bowlers were erratic at the death but managed to secure a win and this confidence will do their chances no harm in the later stages of the competition.