After withstanding the early Rahul-storm and Gayle-storm, Chennai Super Kings managed to hit back against Kings XI Punjab at the PCA Stadium, Mohali. At one stage, Punjab’s score looked like soaring a well over 210-220 but quick wickets by Chennai pegged them back to eventually hold below 200. KXIP have scored 197/7 in their 20 overs.
Chennai captain MS Dhoni won the toss and as the trend has been in the IPL so far, he elected to bowl first. Punjab brought in Chris Gayle today in place of Marcus Stoinis tonight and move proved out to be excellent. KL Rahul, in his purple patch, started once again in a spectacular way.
At the start, KL Rahul took the initiative and started smacking boundaries after boundaries. A little later, Chris Gayle stepped up into the old form of himself and started smoking hitting sixes after sixes and the Chennai fielders just had to fetch the ball back from the stands.
Harbhajan after being hit severely in the first two overs, managed to pull the things a little back with the wicket of KL Rahul. He got out from 37 from 22 balls with KXIP being 96/1 at the end of 8 overs. Mayank Agarwal stepped in next and he continued where KL had left.
At the halfway stage, KXIP was 115/1. Even if the remaining wickets had replicated the effort, the total would have swelled up to 230. It was the intervention Shane Watson that stopped the KXIP’s running train. He took the wicket of Chris Gayle who returned for 63 runs from just 33 balls.
Imran Tahir further dented the hopes of the 220-plus score as he struck twice in two balls. After getting Agarwal out, he followed it up with Aaron Finch lbw dismissal on the very next balThisHis was FInch’s second golden duck in the competition.
The decceleration was enough despite few lusty blows at the end, KXIP ended at 197/5. The total may still prove enough with the bowling lineup that Punjab has. Can Chennai chase three in three?