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Chennai Super Kings Deal Kings XI Punjab Killer Blow In Low-scorer

By on May 21, 2009

Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings 116 for 9 (Parthiv 32, Sreesanth 2-23) beat Kings XI Punjab 92 for 8 (Pomersbach 26, Murali 2-8, Ashwin 2-13) by 24 runs…

It didn’t rain runs in either of the two matches at Kingsmead but there was no shortage of entertainment value as the bowlers called the shots in what is regarded as a sloggers’ game. When Chennai Super Kings limped to what looked like a barely defendable 116, the Kings XI Punjab trooped off with the belief that a confirmed semi-final berth was just an hour and a half away. But they were treated to a harsh lesson by Chennai’s spinners, led by the wily Muttiah Muralitharan, and never at any stage since their introduction did Punjab even look like matching the mounting asking rate.

Kings XI Punjab bowled and fielded like a team desperate to keep their semi-final hopes alive as they restricted Chennai Super Kings to 116 for 9 at Kingsmead. Chennai struggled to get any momentum going after the fall of their openers, lost wickets at regular intervals and for the second time in the day, the spectators had to settle for a low-scorer.

Chennai held control for a very brief period when their openers, Parthiv Patel and George Bailey, got off to a brisk start. Parthiv was strong off his legs, whipping Irfan Pathan past midwicket while Bailey took on Brett Lee for slashed fours through the off side. But Punjab started to pull things their way from the fifth over, when Ramesh Powar was introduced. Bailey chipped down the track and pushed the ball to mid-on but he picked the best fielder in the side, Yuvraj Singh, to push a single. A direct hit sent back Bailey and cut short a promising opening stand of 40 and as it turned out, it was their best partnership.

Yuvraj’s precision with that run out, and commitment, rubbed off on the rest as they threw themselves on the field and showed a will to win. Piyush Chawla made a brave attempt at pulling off a stunner at cover point off Suresh Raina’s blade when on zero, and the Chawla showed off his athleticism later on in a run-out attempt against Jacob Oram.

Hayden’s absence didn’t show in the previous game when Chennai rattled off 189 but today, they suffered a rare batting failure. They struggled to get the partnership going and perhaps the story could’ve been different had Raina stuck around till the end.

The passage which hurt Chennai the most was the Sreesanth over just before the time-out. The bowler dug one in short and caught S Badrinath by surprise, who miscued a pull to mid-on. Two balls later, Sreesanth then yorked MS Dhoni with a fiery inswinging yorker, sparking off one of the wildest of celebrations from the bowler.

Oram could only manage singles as Chennai looked to him for a quick recovery and he survived a close run-out call when Powar appeared to whip the bails off with his arm before gathering the ball. He managed only 17 before miscuing a catch to Pathan, looking for the big hit.

The lower order swung their bats at everything, made room to improvise, but it came down to little as Chennai crawled, scoring only 46 in the last ten overs. That they managed only two fours and a six in that passage reflected in their performance.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

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