King XI Punjab wasted a dominant position chasing a modest target of 161 as the spin trio of Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir dragged Chennai Super Kings back into the game through their economy to help snatch a 22-run win at the Chepauk, reported ESPNcricinfo.
Harbhajan had struck twice in the space of three balls in the second over of the Kings XI chase to claim Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal, but KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan responded with a 110-run third wicket stand to put Kings XI in the driver’s seat. But from the time that Sarfaraz drove Scott Kuggeleijn for six over long-off off the penultimate ball of the 12th over, the Super Kings spinners lulled Kings XI into a false sense of security their having despite wickets in hand as Rahul and Sarfaraz went six overs without a boundary.
The pair barely ran any twos either, meaning the equation went from a manageable 71 off 49 balls to 43 off 14 balls. David Miller, who arrived in the 18th when Rahul skied a catch to deep midwicket off Kuggeleijn, ended the streak with a four driven through long-off, but even with seven wickets in hand, the odds had shifted dramatically in favor of Super Kings.
Deepak Chahar handed Kings XI a lifeline with two no-balls over waist height to start the 19th over, the first of which was slapped over point for four by Sarfaraz. But the pair of slower ball deliveries were not deemed dangerous by the umpires, who allowed Chahar to remain in the attack. Chahar redeemed himself on the second free hit with an excellent yorker and conceded just singles through the rest of the over before bowling Miller with a yorker.
With 26 to get off the final over, Kuggeleijn faced little pressure in closing out the win on his IPL debut, bouncing back after an expensive first spell in which he conceded 27 off his first two overs to end with 2 for 37. The resiliency of Super Kings enabled them to break a four-way deadlock on six points as they moved past Kings XI, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders for sole possession of first place.
Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis ensured MS Dhoni’s decision to bat first was justified early on with a blemish-free Powerplay on the way to a 56-run opening stand. Du Plessis was especially impressive early, driving Mohammed Shami twice for four before ramping him over fine leg for six in the third over. The South African eventually brought up his half-century off 33 balls when he slog-swept M Ashwin for six in the 13th.
The lone star in the field for Kings XI was captain R Ashwin, who followed up the early wicket of Watson in the eighth over, caught at deep midwicket for 26, by striking off consecutive balls in the 14th. Du Plessis’ innings finally ended when he skied an on-drive to long-on before Suresh Raina missed a slog-sweep next ball to make it 100 for 3.