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IPL 2019: Match 55, CSK vs KXIP – Who Said What

KL Rahul scored a 19-ball half-century.

Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) managed to win their last round-robin match against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by six wickets to finish their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a happy note. With the victory, KXIP also ensured that they moved from the last position of the points table. The MS Dhoni-captained Super Kings remained on top despite the heavy defeat.

Faf du Plessis scores a superlative 96

CSK lost the toss but racked up a significant score of 170 for five in their 20 overs. Shane Watson couldn’t find his timing and fell prey to Sam Curran after scoring seven. Thereafter, Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina cobbled together a partnership of 120 runs off 75 balls to put CSK in a commanding position. Du Plessis looked ominous and got to his half-century in 37 deliveries.

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Raina also played a handy inning of 53 off 38 with five fours and two sixes. Sam Curran got rid of Raina to separate the duo. Faf continued on his merry way and scored 96 runs off 55 balls. His knock was laced with 10 fours and four sixes and he became Curran’s third victim. Mohammed Shami bowled brilliantly and got rid of Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav in the last over. MS Dhoni scored 10 off 12 balls.

Rahul torments the Super Kings   

KL Rahul and Chris Gayle came out all guns blazing and stitched together an opening wicket stand of 108 runs off 63 balls to take the sting out of the CSK bowlers. Gayle didn’t go hammer and tongs, not Rahul, who accomplished his half-century off a mere 19 balls. The 26-year-old went bonkers as the visitors’ bowlers kept gasping for breath. Rahul scored 71 from 36 balls with seven fours and five sixes.

Harbhajan Singh was taken to the cleaners in his first two overs, but he made a comeback, dismissing Gayle and Rahul off consecutive balls. Gayle got a run-a-ball 28. Harbhajan picked up his third wicket in the form of Mayank Agarwal. Nevertheless, Nicholas Pooran played a whirlwind knock of 36 off 22 deliveries with two fours and three sixes to see KXIP home with a couple of overs to spare.

MS Dhoni, the CSK captain, said

You need to give the credit to them. It was not an easy wicket. With 3 spinners, it was difficult to manoeuvre in the first six overs. But KL batted really well, was ably supported by Chris Gayle and then Pooran towards the end was good with his lusty hits. It was a really good batting effort from their side. We did whatever we could, it didn’t work a lot. Quite happy with the way we bowled, despite giving a few runs at the start. That’s something you have to keep in mind, if you can’t win a game, you make sure you get the opposition to get the runs in most number of overs. You have to quickly adapt, learn and reassess.

Ravi Ashwin, the KXIP captain, said

It was not easy for us, but we haven’t been outplayed much in many games, except against SRH. We just haven’t been able to close out the close humdingers. He played some good cricket, and building on this is very important. There are a few reasons, we didn’t close out games, particularly in the powerplay and our middle overs. I feel that when teams plan and come back to us, we need to respond properly.

That’s where some teams tick the box – they have played together for a long time. We haven’t qualified but we have to build a core group to keep going for the next few seasons. CSK has a fulcrum of how they go about things, same with MI, SRH does it differently. We have to look at that in the future. We have to post a score that you can defend and some of the best teams do that very consistently.

Varun was a massive idea in the auction, so that we didn’t have to play a foreign spinner. Auctions are very unpredictable. Many teams have done well because they have retained about 5 players. I would like to bring forward the vision for a franchise going forward. Mike Hesson has done a fantastic job to be honest and I aim to bring a good work ethic coming into the leadership role.

KL Rahul, the Player of the Match, said

I’ve been holding myself back till the last game, because my role was different – playing 20 overs and holding up one end. We knew there wasn’t much left for us in this game. But sometimes, you have to alter your game and play according to how the team wants, but tonight I was playing much more freely.

It came out very well today, my strike-rate is much higher, but looking back at it from a personal and team point of view, my strike-rate has dropped, but I have won more games for my team this year. You have to curb your shots at times, and if I did that last year, we could have done better. Having runs behind you always helps you play with a lot of freedom and not think too much and just react to the ball – that only helps you when you have runs behind you.

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