Chennai Super Kings have finally left the blues of their IPL 2020 season behind with a marauding 10-wicket win over a hapless Kings XI Punjab who saw CSK openers Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis hammer all around the park at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.
The toothless bowling attack of the KXIP was exposed on the night with Watson (83 runs off 53balls ) and Faf (87 off 53) chasing down 179-run target in merely 17.4 overs. The firework from the duo up the order meant the good work done by KXIP skipper KL Rahul (63 off 52) in the first ininngs stood for nothing.
None of the experienced KXIP bowlers in Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell and Chris Jordan had answers to the pyrotechnics of the CSK overseas duad as they scored boundaries at will while clobbering 22 boundaries and four sixes.
They also took down CSK’s highest wicket stand of 159 at any wicket (Murali Vijay & Mike Hussey for first wicket against RCB in Chennai in 2011).
While both scored at more or less the same rate throughout the match, it was Shane Watson who turned the aggressor in the closing stages with 10 fours and both the sixes.
Playing intelligent cricket, the duo started cautiously with ground strokemaking in the early stages as the first five overs saw 41 runs. However a heavy 19-run over of the last over of the powerplay saw the spike in the run rate.
They soon stitched an unbeaten opening 100-plus stand as CSK dugout could smell victory already. Both the batsmen reached their fifties in process with Watson to cross the milestone first with one six and two boundaries on the trot. Watson took 31 deliveries to hit his 20th IPL half-century.
Faf was next to reach the mark off just 33 deliveries in the 11th over.
Earlier in the first innings, highly effective death over bowling from Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo on Sunday helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) restrict Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to 178/4 after the latter looked set for a total close to or beyond the 200-run mark at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
KXIP's star openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal got them off to a good start and their partnership of 61 runs was only broken in the ninth over. Mandeep Singh played a useful cameo of 27 off 16 balls after which Nicholas Pooran put up a 58-run stand for the third wicket.
Shardul took two wickets in two balls in the 18th over to put the breaks on the innings. His first was that Pooran who was dismissed due to a sharp catch by Ravindra Jadeja in the deep after which he dismissed Rahul on 63.