May 17, 2015 Sports
ESPNcricinfo – Kings XI Punjab’s final match followed the narrative of much of their season, as their underwhelming 130 for 7 in Mohali was reeled in with seven wickets and 20 balls to spare by Chennai Super Kings. Six of the
seven bowlers Super Kings used picked up wickets, with left-arm spinner Pawan Negi taking two. They sealed their position at the top of the table, and are assured a place in the first qualifier. Faf du Plessis hit 55 from 41 balls to lead the largely straightforward chase. Suresh Raina stayed unbeaten on 41 at the finish, with a 16-ball 25 from MS Dhoni hastening the end.
Kings XI began brightly enough, as Wriddhiman Saha – the star of their Wednesday win over Royal Challengers Bangalore – hit a four in Negi’s first over, then rocked back to launch Ishwar Pandey into the stands beyond square leg soon after. Expecting more aggression, Negi looped the second ball of his second over up outside off stump, and drew the false shot. Saha had attempted to thrash the ball over the off side, but managed only to lob it to cover, to collect 15 from 12.
Ashish Nehra then struck with his first ball, pushing one across George Bailey who sent a nick through to the wicketkeeper . The wickets just kept tumbling thereafter. Manan Vohra top-edged a cut shot to third man to leave his side 35 for 3 in the sixth over. Gurkeerat Singh Mann hoped to attack his side out of the mire, when he advanced to R Ashwin immediately after cutting him behind point for four in the ninth over, but the bowler anticipated the batsman’s advance. Ashwin slowed up the ball, pitched short, and spun it past Gurkeerat’s thigh pad, for Dhoni to complete a simple stumping.
Glen Maxwell was out playing around a straightforward delivery from Ravindra Jadeja. David Miller was caught superbly on the legside outfield when he had nearly bludgeoned the cover off the ball. Nothing Kings XI’s top order did seemed to result in a meaningful partnership. There was no clear theme to their downfall on a batting-friendly surface, save perhaps for several batsmen’s scrambled approach after a tough season.
Rishi Dhawan and Axar Patel put on the innings’ longest stand – a 44-run effort that pushed the team above 120. But even with the 14-run 19th over off Dwayne Bravo, the hosts did not appear to have made enough.
Michael Hussey, playing his first game of the season, and Brendon McCullum, playing his last, were each dismissed inside two overs to raise the crowd’s hopes of an upset. But du Plessis and Raina coasted through the early and middle overs, attacking only the wayward deliveries to stay in touch with the modest required rate. Du Plessis’ running six over long on and pull shot past deep midwicket off Axar in the 12th over was as violent as his innings got.
He was bowled making room to hit through the off side with victory in sight, but Dhoni waltzed in and quickly secured the two points. He hit two sixes off Anureet Singh, then all but finished the game with a glide to third man.
Scores: Chennai Super Kings 134 for 3 (Du Plessis 55, Raina 41) beat Kings XI Punjab 130 for 7 (Axar 32, Negi 2-25, Ashwin 1-14) by seven wickets.
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