Kings XI Punjab snatched a slender seven run victory over Chennai Super Kings today at the Chidambaram Stadium. Chasing a modest 157 to win, the Super Kings could only manage 149 thanks to some superb bowling from Azhar Mahmood and their spinners.
The Kings XI won the toss and elected to bat first on a hot and sultry Chennai afternoon. The Punjab team got off a good start with openers Mandeep Singh and Shaun Marsh adding 68 runs for the first wicket. Marsh, opening today, took to Shadab Jakati and propelled Punjab to 68/0 in just eight overs. Marsh scored a terrific 32 off 22 deliveries before he was run out at the non striker’s end when he backed up too far. Mandeep’s straight drive touched Ashwin’s boot and caught Marsh out of his crease.
From there on, the Punjab innings hit a downward curve as the Chennai bowlers tightened the screws along with the heat taking it’s toll on the players. It took a brilliant innings of 56 from young Mandeep Singh to get Kings XI across the 150 mark. Azhar Mahmood, hit a couple of sixes before falling to Bravo and David Miller hung around for a while but Chennai kept chipping away at the wickets. Apart from the top four batsmen, the rest failed to get a double digit score.
The Super Kings came back well after the opening partnership and restricted Kings XI to a gettable score. Albie Morkel picked up three scalps while Bravo got two. But it was R. Ashwin who bowled a mean line to frustrate the Punjab batsmen.
Chennai, too, got off to a swift start with Faf du Plessis and Badrinath adding 47 runs in just five overs. Faf du Plessis continued his great form and looked dangerous before he was snapped up by a slower delivery from Azhar Mahmood for 29. Badrinath, too, fell Mahmood when he tried to clear the mid wicket fence.
From there on, the Punjab bowlers stiffled the Super Kings for runs and the wickets started to tumble. The spinners from Punjab tied up the Chennai batsmen on a sluggish track and Wridhiman Saha, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Jadeja perished in search of quick runs as the match kept slipping away from the Super Kings. But an excellent 30 off 20 balls from Dwayne Bravo, who added 38 runs with Morkel, kept Chennai’s hopes alive. Bravo, however, lost his wicket when he hit Praveen Kumar straight to Piyush Chawla at deep mid wicket.
Needing 17 to win off the last over, the Super Kings lost Morkel as he skied one from Mahmood, who bowled a tight last over to hand over the win to Kings XI. For the Kings, all the spinners did a fair job of restricting runs. Mahmood picked up three wickets while Chawla returned with figures of 2 for 20.
This win here gives Kings XI the required boost as they move up the points table while Chennai Super Kings would be bitterly disappointed to lose a game that they should have won.
Kings XI Punjab 156/8 (20/20 ov)
Chennai Super Kings 149/8 (20/20 ov)
Man of the Match: