Punjab Kings 187 for 4 (Shikhar 88*, Rajapaksa 42, Bravo 2-42) beat Chennai Super Kings 176 for 6 (Rayudu 78, Rabada 2-23, Rishi Dhawan 2-39) by 11 runs
Kings change gears
The Kings’ approach to the first half of the tournament was to try and batter the opposition senseless from the off. They attacked throughout, but were bedeviled by wickets falling at an equal rate. Those tactics resulted in a few eye-catching wins and several costly implosions – none more so than in their last outing, when they were dismissed for 115 and lost to Delhi Capitals by nine wickets with 57 balls to spare.
Rajapaksa needed some luck, dropped twice before reaching double-figures, but he made good on it to help Kings register their first century partnership of the campaign. The pair hit just six boundaries – one of which should have resulted Rajapaksa being caught at deep midwicket – in the first half of the innings, as Kings reached 72 for 1. But just as Super Giants did from an identical score in Sunday night’s game at the Wankhede, they effectively raised the tempo through the second ten.
A tickled single in the second over of the match made Shikhar, playing his 200th IPL match, only the second man after Virat Kohli to score 6000 runs in the competition. By the time he had moved into the 60s, smashing back-to-back boundaries down the ground off Dwayne Bravo in the 16th over, Shikhar had notched more than 1000 of them against Super Kings alone. This was his ninth 50-plus score, and eventually enough to sink the Yellow Submarine.
Shikhar’s approach set the template for his side, as he ticked along at just above a run-a-ball for the first half of the innings. A slog-swept six against Maheesh Theekshana and a driven four off Dwaine Pretorius were his only boundaries until he tucked into Mukesh Choudhary in the 12th, rattling off a pair of cuts that beat the cover sweeper on both sides, and then flicking four more off the pads through the ring with fine leg up. A 37-ball fifty kept Kings on course and, when Rajapaksa fell in the 18th over, Shikhar handed over the strike to Liam Livingstone, whose seven-ball cameo included taking Pretorius for 4-6-6.
Super Kings’ lack-of-powerplay
Super Kings have had problems getting their innings off to good starts all season, and once again they shipped early wickets in the chase. Sandeep was one of three changes to the Kings XI, as they sought greater batting depth at the expense of two genuine bowlers – Vaibhav Arora and Nathan Ellis; Sandeep had gone wicketless in his only previous appearance, the season opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore, but he struck with his fifth ball on this occasion, Robin Uthappa splicing a pull to midwicket.
Rayudu resurrects chase
With the fall of Ruturaj Gaikwad, Super Kings were 89 for 4 in the 13th over and seemingly well out of contention, only for Rayudu to unleash a display of clean hitting on the way to his first fifty of the season. Six times he launched the ball into the stands, including a brutal sequence of three in a row off Sandeep during an over that brought Super Kings back to within range. But with the asking rate down to 47 off the last four, Arshdeep delivered an excellent over of wide yorkers that cost just six runs, and Rabada’s dismissal of Rayudu meant there was too much to do – even for Dhoni.