In a masterly display of how to play T-20 cricket, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) humbled Kings XI Punjab (KXP) by seven wickets to finish on top of the points table of the Indian Premier League. They will face the second-placed team in the first playoffs match.
Kings XI batted first in seemingly batting friendly conditions. They faced an unexpected foe: CSK’s spinners. The pitch in Mohali is known to aid speed merchants. However, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Pawan Negi extracted enough turn and bounce to restrict the Punjab batsmen. None of the hard hitters in the KXP line-up found their rhythm against CSK’s army of slow bowlers. A late order partnership between Axar Patel (32 off 29 balls) and Rishi Dhawan (25 not out off 20 balls) took the score board to 130 for seven in 20 overs.
Super Kings were rocked early in the chase as they lost both the openers cheaply. But they brushed aside the hiccups. Suresh Raina (41 not out off 34 balls) and Faf du Plessis (55 off 41 balls) consolidated the innings. A 90-run partnership between the two take them closer to the target. MS Dhoni came in at the fall of du Plessis and chased down the target along with Raina without much fuss.
Pawan Negi is the man of the match.