PUNE, MAY 21: Young paceman Lungi Ngidi conceded only 10 runs and took four wickets before Suresh Raina hit a measured 61 as Chennai Super Kings eliminated Kings XI Punjab from the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a five-wicket win, a result which sealed Rajasthan Royals’ place in the Play-offs on Sunday night. Delhi Daredevils had done a favour to Punjab by knocking out Mumbai Indians with an 11-run win in the first match of the day as it kept Punjab in the hunt to take the last-available spot in the Play-offs. When Punjab batsmen needed to fire in unison, only Karun Nair (54) showed stomach for fight with his 26-ball knock, which was laced with three fours and five sixes.
Nair’s half-century helped Kings XI Punjab recover from a poor start and post 153 in 19.4 overs but they needed to win by at least 53 runs to qualify for the Play-offs.
It was South African paceman Ngidi who triggered a top-order collapse as he swung the ball both ways to confound the Punjab batsmen. He conceded only 10 runs in his four-over quota and scalped key players.
CSK needed to win in 17.3 overs to snatch the top spot but they had to be content with a second-place finish behind Sunrisers Hyderabad as they could overhaul the target only in 19.1 overs.
Deepak Chahar (39 from 20) shared a crucial 56-run stand Suresh Raina (68 not out) in Chennai’s win while skipper MS Dhoni, who batted down the order, scored 16 off seven balls and finished the match with a six.
With the wicket helping seamers, CSK’s chase was far from smooth with Ankit Rajpoot dismissing Faf du Plessis (14) and Sam Billings (0) in successive balls. This was after Mohit Sharma had scalped in-form Ambati Rayudu (1).
Harbhajan Singh (19) was sent up the order with a licence to go after the bowling. He swung his bat wildly but did not connect all the time, though he found a six and two fours.
The wicket was tough for aggressive batting and working the ball around was the best option. Raina changed his approach and started rotating the strike even as Harbhajan kept attempting big shots.
His struggle ended when rival captain R Ashwin trapped him. MS Dhoni delayed his arrival at the crease and sent Deepak Chahar ahead of himself. After getting his eye in, Chahar slammed Ashwin for two sixes and a four before launching Axar Patel for a massive six. His innings was ended by Ashwin, bringing Dhoni at the crease.
The two experienced players took the side past the finish line.
Earlier, Ngidi first had dangerous Chris Gayle (0) caught behind and then bowled other opener KL Rahul with a peach of delivery that swung in and sent the stump kart-wheeling.
Deepak Chahar had Aaron Finch (4) caught by Raina as Punjab managed only 29 runs in the Powerplay overs. (PTI)
IPL Qualifier 1:
Exciting CSK-SRH battle on the cards for a spot in final
An intriguing battle between two former champions is on the cards when table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad clash with second-placed Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League Qualifier 1 here on Tuesday.
Only a slight difference in the net run-rate separated the two teams as they each finished the league stage on 18 points. The riveting contest at the Wankhede Stadium will spell out who goes directly to the May 27 final, also scheduled at this venue, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the summit clash and the loser getting a second chance in the Qualifier 2 in Kolkata on May 25.
The raucous Mumbai fans, thus, could expect a rip-roaring contest.
Super Kings seem to hold a slight edge going into the match as they have not only got the better of their southern rivals twice in the league stage this season but also have the winning momentum going into the contest on what promises to be a bouncy track.
While Super Kings stopped the aspirations of Kings XI Punjab by overcoming a difficult start on Sunday night in their adopted home base of Pune, Sunrisers have been on a three-game losing run, having sealed their play-off spot with a victory on May 10 against Delhi Daredevils.
They had somehow not been able to muster the intensity shown in the better of their league stage campaign and to some extent their highly-rated bowling attack also looked off-coloured in the previous three games.
It was the Super Kings who halted Sunrisers’ six-game winning streak with a comprehensive eight-wicket drubbing on May 13 in Pune.
Sunrisers have depended totally on their captain Kane Williamson, who has been in terrific form to rise to the number two slot in the leading run-getters’ list with 661 runs at just over 60 per game.