Match 54: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Dhoni came to the party when his team needed him the most. His 29 ball 54 blitzkrieg took his side to the semi-finals for the 3rd season in a row. He blasted 25 runs in the final 2 overs to remind everyone that he is still one of the best finishers of the game. Kings XI once again failed to defend a big total which has been the story of the season – their batsmen have piled on more runs than all teams except Mumbai Indians, but their bowling has has let them down big time. Having made 192, it was a tough ask for the Super Kings to chase it down but given that they had no other way but to go for it made the innings interesting. It began badly for them as they lost both their openers quickly but Raina and Badrinath got the innings back on track before Dhoni’s onslaught stunned the Kings XI at their home ground Dharamshala.
Chennai Super Kings Innings
Chennai needed their openers to give them a good start if they were to scale down the huge total that Kings XI had set for them. However their chase got off to the most inauspicious start as Ramesh Powar’s classic offspin bowling accounted for the dangerous openers Matthew Hayden and M Vijay with some credit also going to Sangakkara who was just brilliant behind the stumps. It was left to Raina and Badrinath to get back some momentum. They kept scoring at nearly 11 runs per over with Raina looking going at nearly 200 strike rate but a clever move from Sangakkara to bring on Theron ended Raina’s stay at the wicket. Chennai were fighting and fighting hard to stay in the match. Dhoni and Badrinath could only manage 59 runs in 42 balls before Badrinath was stumped off chawla. It was not left to MS Dhoni who has not been in the greatest of forms for his team. They needed 44 from the last 3 with Morkel giving company to Dhoni. Punjab was looking to close out a forgettable season with a consolation win but Dhoni didn’t let that happen. PHOTOS
Kings XI Punjab Innings
Dhoni won the toss on a cloudy afternoon which threatened to wash the game but nothing of that sort happened and Kings XI were put into bat. Mahela Jayawardene gave them a cracking start by slamming Sudeep Tyagi for two sixes in the first over but a stunning catch from the same bowler at mid-off cut his innings short. Marsh was patient at the other end and was happy to give most of the strike to Kumar Sangakkara. Kings were comfortably placed at 86/1 at half time but Sangakkara and Yuvraj Singh got out in successive overs giving some hope to Chennai. However Marsh made sure that the run rate didn’t take a beating as he sprinted from 39 to 58 in a space of 6 balls. Irfan too joined him in the carnage. The two raised their 50-run stand in just 26 balls. Although Marsh did not get to 100, Pathan did not get a 50 and the partnership ended up on 99, Kings XI finished their innings at 192/3. PHOTOS
Player of the Match: Dhoni