Shikhar Dhawan smashed an unbeaten 88 for Punjab Kings who withstood a batting blitz from Chennai Super Kings’ Ambati Rayudu to seal an 11-run victory in a hard-fought Indian Premier League match on Monday.
Chennai slipped to 40 for three, but Rayudu took on the chase in his 39-ball 78, studded with six sixes, before being bowled by Kagiso Rabada who returned figures of 2/23. Although M S Dhoni attempted to repeat his pyrotechnics of the previous match when he scored 16 off the final four balls, this time 27 runs from the 20th over proved too big as Chennai closed 11 short.
CSK skipper Jadeja during the post-match presentation said, “We are not getting good starts in the first six overs, that’s where we are lacking and hopefully we will come back stronger.”
“He (Rayudu) was batting brilliantly, if we could’ve restricted them to under 175 it would’ve been good. We felt we gave away 10-15 runs extra at the end. We did not execute our plans very well,” Jadeja said.
While four-time champions CSK slumped to their sixth loss in eight matches, PBKS bounced back from two straight losses. Earlier Shikhar Dhawan lost his opening partner and skipper Mayank Agarwal for 18 after a slow start before adding 110 for the second wicket with fellow left-hander Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who made 42.
Rayudu had kept CSK’s chances alive with three consecutive sixes and a four against Sandeep Sharma in the 16th over, but Arshdeep Singh gave just six runs in the following over and eight in the penultimate over to tip the scales in Punjab’s favour. Kagiso Rabada remained the pick of the bowlers as he returned with figures of 2 for 23.
After the match, Agarwal said, “I thought Arsh bowled exceedingly well, he has bowled the tough overs, he has been great for us. Even Rabada bowled well, to get Ruturaj (Gaikwad) and Rayudu at that stage. These two have been great for us.”
“Arsh (Arshdeep) has been the best death bowler in the competition, that’s what the stats say. He has got a lot of talent, drive and ambition. And he is just a good bloke. So nice to have him around. I know I am going to bowl at the death.”
“It is important to carry the momentum. We have won one, but we need to win two or three on the bounce,” he concluded.
(With inputs from AFP)