In a nail-biting last-ball finish, Punjab Kings breached CSK’s Chepauk fortress to secure their fifth win of the season. It was the 999th game of the IPL and fans had gathered around the Chepauk Stadium to witness their Thala, MS Dhoni, play . To the fans’ much delight, CSK skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat first.
CSK set a target of 200
The decision of batting first was aptly justified by the CSK openers who went on to put 86 runs for the first wicket in just 9.4 overs before Gaikwad was stumped by Jitesh Sharma off the bowling of Sikandar Raza. However, the foundation had been laid as eyed a big score. Conway went on to score 92 runs and remained unbeaten throughout. But, the highlight of the innings was the two sixes that Dhoni hit off Sam Curran on the final two balls of the 20th over to take CSK’s score to 200 runs.
Punjab came into this game with a leg spinner (Rahul Chahar), and a slow-left-arm bowler (Harpreet Brar) in the Playing XI, alongside their two part-time spinners, Sikandar Raza and Liam Livingstone. Since the Chepauk pitch supports spin, MS Dhoni had to come up with a plan to counter PBKS’ ‘spin-to-win’ plan. Dhoni once again showed his brilliance as a skipper and kept on sending left-handers up until the last over, which eventually prevented Harpreet Brar from ever taking. the ball in the game.
Punjab gain early momentum
Chasing a total of 201 was not going to be an easy task and PBKS needed a good start at the top from their openers, who were up to the task. Shikhar Dhawanwho was making a comeback in this game after his shoulder injury, put up exactly 50 runs for the first wicket with Prabhsimran Singh in just 4.2 overs to set the tempo of Punjab’s chase.
From there on, Punjab Kings never lost momentum as Prabhsimran Singh and Liam Livingston continued the onslaught. A ’10 ball 21 runs’ cameo from Jitesh Sharma lower down the order made sure that Punjab were still in the game.
The final over tale
However, it all boiled down to the final over as PBKS needed 9 runs to win. Sikandar Raza and Shahrukh Khan, both of whom were new to the crease, had the mammoth task of scoring these runs against Matheesha Pathirana, who had been firing up yorkers the entire game.
Pathirana started off really great and didn’t give away any boundaries but just a few singles and twos. By the time the final ball arrived, PBKS needed three runs to win and Sikandar Raza was on strike. Assuming that Raza would try and slog the ball, MS Dhoni had put the deep point, long off, long on, deep midwicket, and deep fine-leg fielders on the boundary ropes.
Pathirana bowled a slower one onto the line of the stumps and short of a length. Raza got inside the line and helped it over the backward square-leg fielder, who was inside the circle. The ball kept rolling toward the boundary as the PBKS duo of Sikandar Raza and Shahrukh Khan ran like their life depended on it. A desperate fielding effort did prevent the boundary but the two batters eventually ran 3 runs and steered Punjab comfortably home in the end.
With this win, Punjab have moved up to the 5th spot in the Points Table. They now have 5 wins in 9 games and have 10 points in their account. Chennai Super Kings on the other hand have held on to their 4th position despite the defeat. They too have the same number of points in 9 games but are one spot above because of their Net Run Rate (NRR).
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