KXIP survive Dhoni onslaught in thrilling win

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Kings XI Punjab handed Chennai Super Kings their first defeat of the season, with Chris Gayle turning the spotlight on with an exuberant 22-ball fifty in first-ever game for Punjab, and incidentally his first this IPL season. But it was MS Dhoni Dhoni who stole the thunder, fighting through back pain to bludgeon 79 off 44 balls that took CSK close but fell 4 runs short of parrying them over the line.

How did it get so close?

(dhoni)Things took a dramatic turn after the second time-out, with 64 needed off the last four overs. Dhoni, on 32 off 26 balls then, was in the middle of a severe struggle with his back spasms, and nobody really gave him a chance. Mohit Sharma conceded 19 runs in the eighteenth over to set the tone but it was Andrew Tye’s last over – the penultimate of the innings – that set the buzzers ringing. 19 runs were taken off him, with Dhoni carting Tye for a four and two sixes to more than make up for Ravindra Jadeja’s dismissal.

17 runs were needed off the last over, Mohit Sharma had the ball, and CSK were nearing another heist; and Dhoni form and his familiarity to Mohit’s slower-ball variations made a strong case for it. But Mohit started the over really well, nailing the full-and-wide yorker right for about five times in the over to deny CSK a third win on the trot.

Where did CSK lose the game?

Mostly in the powerplay, as is the case for most T20 games of late. To be fair, it was always going to be difficult to match KXIP’s powerplay – KL Rahul and Gayle were going bonkers then, piling on 75 for nought in six overs – but Chennai, having scored 53, fell further behind when they lost both their openers. Both Murali Vijay and Shane Watson fell to slower deliveries, having been baited into playing their shots on a good pitch.

As a result, KXIP always had a head start in defending the target and Dhoni blitzkrieg could only do so much.

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