Kings XI Punjab’s barren title run has been elongated by another year as already-knocked out Chennai Super Kings ended the side’s play-off hopes with a resounding 9-wicket win in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
In-form CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (62* off 49) turned out to be the party spoiler for KXIP as his third consecutive half-century ensured the 'Yellow Army' chased down a competitive total of 153 in 18.5 overs after Deepak Hooda shot his maiden 50 in five years to bring semblance to KXIP total following a top-order collapse.
Chasing the total, CSK openers Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad put the side in a strong position in the first six overs with 57 runs off it.
The duo saw off the early pressure while scoring 32 runs in the last three overs with Faf taking a more aggressive stance with 31 runs of the partnership.
The partnership folded in the 10th over when Faf’s (48 off 34) mistimed scoop shot off Chris Jordan was grabbed calmly by KL Rahul, who anticipated the trajectory of the ball quite early.
However, with 74 needed off the last 10 overs, CSK knew they don’t need to take unnecessary risk in order to chase off the target and this reflected in the cautious partnership between Gaikwad and Ambati Rayudu. The duo stitched an unbeaten 75-run stand to bring CSK home by the 18th over with Rayudu remaining not out at 30 off 30 at the other end.
Earlier in the first innings, Hooda cracked an unbeaten 62 off 30 balls to take KXIP to a competitive 153/6.
It is the first time since his debut season in 2015 that Hooda has managed a half-century in the IPL.
Hooda, 25, walked in after Chris Gayle's dismissal left KXIP tottering at 72/4 in the 12th over. He went on the attack straight away, scoring most of the runs in a 36-run stand with Mandeep Singh for the fifth wicket.
It was the second-highest stand at the time for KXIP after the opening partnership of 48 between captain KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.
The pair put up 40 runs for the seventh wicket, 34 off which was scored by Hooda off just 12 balls. He hit three fours and four sixes in his innings.