The Punjab Kings batting line-up combined to put in an incredible effort to seal a last-ball thriller against Chennai Super Kings in Chepauk on Sunday.
Chasing 201 for victory, Liam Livingstone (40), Sam Curran (29) and Jitesh Sharma (21) played attacking cameos before Sikandar Raza sealed the win with his unbeaten 13 in Chennai.
With the four-wicket win, Punjab Kings joined three other teams in the points table that have secured 10 points.
Interestingly, it was a collective effort but no Punjab Kings batter got a fifty whilst chasing 201. Prabhsimran Singh and Shikhar Dhawan started in strong fashion and were scoring at a good rate before the captain was dismissed in the fifth over. However, handy and quick-scoring contributions from Liam Livingstone (40 off 24) and Jitesh Sharma (21 off 10) ensured that the game was heading for a close finish.
With 22 needed off 12, Jitesh and Raza scored 13 runs before the former was dismissed by Tushar Desphande. In the final over, the equation was down to nine off six and the job was well done by Raza, who held his nerve in the last ball to take three runs.
Earlier in the innings, the Chennai fans got what they wanted as they got a brilliant batting exhibition from in-form Devon Conway who scored an unbeaten 92 off 52. The opening duo of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Conway piled on 86 runs before the former was dismissed by Raza in the 10th over. There was a handy effort from Shivam Dube (28 off 17) but he too was dismissed by Arshdeep Singh in the fourteenth over.
MS Dhoni regaled the crowd with two back-to-back maximums in the last over and could have proved to be the difference but eventually, PBKS prevailed against Chennai in Chennai.
In the chase, Sri Lanka fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana was tasked with bowling the final over, with Punjab needing nine to win. Raza got three runs off the final ball, his arms outstretched in celebration.
Devon Conway’s 92 off 52 balls proved to be in vain after the left-handed New Zealand opener steered Chennai to 200-4, having elected to bat first.
Livingstone and the left-handed Curran, who became the most expensive player in the tournament’s history at $2.23 million, revived the chase after Punjab fell to 94-3.
They put on 57 off 33 balls before Livingstone departed and Curran was bowled by Pathirana, called “Baby Malinga” for a slinging action similar to that of countryman Lasith Malinga.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Jitesh took Punjab closer in his 10-ball blitz before he fell to Tushar Deshpande, who took three wickets, but Raza held firm.
Punjab skipper Shikhar Dhawan (28) and opening partner Prabhsimran Singh (42) got the chase going in a quickfire 50-run stand but the team wobbled once the two departed.
Earlier, Conway laid the foundations of Chennai’s total in an 86-run opening stand with Ruturaj Gaikwad.
He reached his fifty – his fifth in the last six innings – in 30 balls with a boundary off Raza as he put up another attacking stand with Shivam Dube, who hit 28.
But it was skipper M.S. Dhoni’s sixes off the final two balls bowled by Curran that brought the house down at the Chepauk stadium, as the old warhorse dispatched the ball over backward point and then a pull over deep mid-wicket.
With AFP inputs