Chennai Super Kings visited the PCA Stadium, Mohali, the den of Kings XI Punjab for the 12th game of the IPL 2018. The trend of the day was scoring big in the first innings and that’s what KXIP did. CSK fell agonizingly close to the target and the hosts survived the Dhoni scare to achieve a famous win at home.
KXIP batted first after losing the toss and the crowd was delighted to see Chris Gayle in the red and silver. It was the debut for the big man for the new franchise and he didn’t disappoint. Along with KL Rahul, the left-hander tore apart the CSK bowling line-up and consistently parked the ball amongst the crowd.
The openers added 96 runs for the first wicket from 8 overs and got KXIP off to a solid start. Rahul scored 37 off 22 while Gayle went on to make 63 off 33 balls with 7 fours and 4 sixes. Post their departures, the team lost the plot a bit and CSK bowlers did well to pull the game back. The hosts ended up scoring 197/7 at the end of 20 overs which a bit earlier looked like going well past 200.
Dhoni’s masterclass just falling short
CSK’s chase didn’t have the momentum initially as they lost both their openers Shane Watson and Murali Vijay inside the powerplay. Sam Billings, the hero of the last game, too didn’t last long and fell after scoring just 9. Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni then got together and kept the side in the hunt.
Dhoni was seemingly in an explosive mood from the beginning and Rayudu too partnered him well. Rayudu fell after scoring 49 but Dhoni was adamant to keep going. The 36-year-old single-handedly kept the side in the game and like he has done on numerous occasions, dragged the game to the last over.
CSK needed 17 off the last over that was bowled by Mohit Sharma. Dhoni struck a boundary off the 3rd ball that left 11 to get from 3 balls. But the pacer held his nerves and delivered 2 dot balls. Dhoni hammered a six off the last ball but that wasn’t enough. A valiant effort of 79 off 44 balls by the CSK captain went in vain as his side lost by 4 runs.
Moment of the Game
Usually, Ravichandran Ashwin is known for his skills with the ball and at times, with the bat. Recently, he has added leg spin to his armor and is looking better than ever. But the talking point at Mohali wasn’t his variations with the ball but a rare moment of brilliance in the field from the spinner.
It was the 14th over of the CSK innings and Ambati Rayudu was facing up to Barinder Sran. The batsman was playing on 49 and was on the brink of a half-century. He drove the 4th ball of the over towards cover and took off for a single where Ashwin was guarding the area inside the circle.
Perhaps Rayudu underestimated Ashwin in the field and in the bid to complete a fifty, looked for a single. But MS Dhoni, at the non-striker’s end, refused to run and sent Rayudu back. A clean pick up and a quick release from Ashwin and in the flash of a second, the stumps at the striker’s end were shattered courtesy a bullet throw.
Rayudu was shell-shocked with Ashwin’s effort and he was left miles short of the crease. The KXIP captain was ecstatic as he knew he had produced something special. The batsman had to carry himself off the field as he missed out on a fifty. In the end, perhaps, the untimely dismissal of Rayudu also proved to be the turning point.
Chennai Super Kings won the toss and opted to bowl first
Kings XI Punjab: 197/7 in 20 overs
Chris Gayle 63 (33), KL Rahul 37 (22)
Shardul Thakur 33/2 (3), Imran Tahir 34/2 (4)
Chennai Super Kings: 193/5 in 20 overs
MS Dhoni 79* (44), Ambati Rayudu 49 (35)
Andrew Tye 47/2 (4), Ravichandran Ashwin 32/1 (4)
Kings XI Punjab won by 4 runs
Player of the Match: Chris Gayle