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Scorecard | As it happened
Playing through a recurring lower back pain, Dhoni smashed five sixes and six fours during his 44-ball knock and also put on two fifty-run stands with Ambati Rayudu (49) and Ravindra Jadeja (19). But it all went in vain as they fell short by four runs in the end, managing 193/5 in 20 overs.
For KXIP, Andrew Tye (2/47), Ravichandran Ashwin (1/32) and Mohit Sharma (1/47) were among the wickets in the high-scoring contest.
Defending a 198-run target, Mohit gave home side a great start as he dismissed Shane Watson (11) early in the second over. Watson started well hitting back-to-back fours off Mohit, but the bowler had the last laugh three balls later.
Murali Vijay and Ambati Rayudu kept the scoring rate high as they smashed 22 runs in the next two overs. But the introduction of Andrew Tye in the fifth over paid immediate dividend for the hosts as the Australian pacer dismissed Vijay with his first ball. And in the seventh over, a confident Ashwin successfully challenged the umpire’s decision of a boundary from Sam Billings’ bat. Billings was out leg before after review and CSK were reduced to 57/3 in 6.4 overs.
Skipper Dhoni and Rayudu rebuilt the run chase, scoring 10 and 13 off Yuvraj and Ashwin in the 8th and 9th over respectively, as they took CSK to 85/3 at the halfway mark. The duo stitched fifty-run as CSK reached 100-run mark in 12 overs.
Dhoni-Rayudu partnership was broken by a brilliant direct hit from Ashwin in the 14th over, which left CSK to score 85 off 38 balls. Rayudu was primed for his half-century on 49 off 35 balls, which included a six and five fours, before the mix-up with his skipper ended his innings. Rayudu added a valuable 57 runs stand in seven overs for the fourth wicket with Dhoni.
Dhoni kept CSK in hunt in the company of Jadeja, adding 50 in 4.4 overs for the fifth wicket. When Jadeja became Tye’s second victim in the penultimate over, the visitors needed 35 off 10 balls. Dhoni made the equation a gettable 17 off the final over as he smacked 18 off Tye’s last four balls which included tow sixes and a four, before CSK came short.
Sent in to bat, Chris Gayle showed that he was not yet a spent force as he smashed his second fastest fifty in the IPL to help KXIP post a healthy 197/7.
The 38-year-old Jamaican, who twice went unsold at the auction and was later picked up by the Punjab franchise for a base price of Rs 2 crore, played a trademark innings toying with the opposition attack. Playing his first game of the season, he hammered 63 off 33 balls and raced to his half-century off 22 balls. His fastest fifty had come off 17 balls, against Pune in 2013. His knock was studded with four sixes and seven boundaries.
The West Indian weaved a 96-run opening partnership alongside the in-form KL Rahul (37 off 22), setting up the platform for a big score. Mayank Agarwal (30 off 19) and Karun Nair (29 off 17) too chipped in with useful contributions. For CSK, Shardul Thakur and Imran Tahir picked up two scalps each while Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo got a wicket each.
Harbhajan gave Chennai the first breakthrough when Rahul was caught by Dwayne Bravo, but by then KXIP were comfortably placed and reached 100 in just 8.4 overs. Two overs later Gayle too departed, handing over a simple catch to Tahir at short fine leg off Watson’s bowling.
Tahir dealt a double blow in innings’ 15th over, removing a set Agarwal and Aaron Finch, who was out for a first-ball duck for the second game in a row. Yuvraj Singh (20 off 13), who struggled in the first two games, seemed to get into his groove before Thakur had him caught behind off a short ball.
KXIP slowed down in the last five overs but eventually reached an imposing total.
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 197/7 (Chris Gayle 63; Shardul Thakur 2/33) beat Chennai Super Kings 193/5 (MS Dhoni 79 not out; Andrew Tye 2/47) by four runs