After Mumbai lost the first game of our IPL 2018 Super Sunday double header, Kings XI Punjab had their work cut out for them, coming into the last round robin game of the season. They were put in to bat by Chennai Super Kings and needed to win by at least 53 runs if they wanted to go above Rajasthan Royals and qualify for the playoffs.
MS Dhoni figured out that the new ball was swinging around, and he bowled his opening bowlers for seven straight overs. Both of Lungi Ngidi and Deepak Chahar were brilliant early on and Punjab were reduced to 16/3, with the lot of Gayle, Rahul and Finch all back in the hut within the powerplay overs.
Karun Nair played an important knock of 54(26) that took Punjab to 153 but most would’ve known that they needed 200+ if they wanted to qualify to the playoffs. Ngidi, the 22-year old South African pacer, finished with figures of 4-1-10-4 and a Chennai win seemed likely at the halfway stage.
However, the Punjab bowlers made brilliant use of the new ball as well, reducing Chennai to 27/3 in the fifth over. Dhoni decided to protect his batsmen and sent out pinch hitters in the form of Harbhajan Singh and Chahar. While most were amazed at this decision, Chahar scored 39(20) and the move turned out to be another MSD masterstroke.
Dhoni eventually walked out to bat at number 7 and with a set Raina at the crease, scoring the required 11-12 runs an over didn’t seem to be much of a task. Raina started off very slowly, scoring at a strike rate in the eighties for most of his innings, but he switched gears in the 19th over.
CSK needed 23 in 12 balls. Raina decided to end the game all too quickly by smashing Andrew Tye for 22 in 5 balls and he very subtly decided to defend the last ball of the over and let his captain hit the winning runs. It was all too easy for Dhoni, who ended the game in signature fashion, smashing a six over the fine leg fence. Man of the Match: Lungi Ngidi.
With this, Rajasthan Royals proceeded to the playoffs and they may not be the best team to be in the top four. Now without Stokes and Buttler, they will find it very tough to get past Kolkata Knight Riders in their eliminator game. Keep watching GutshotMagazine.com for daily IPL updates and cricket match results.