An all-round performance from Azhar Mehmood propelled Kings XI to an important win over two-time defending champions Chennai Super Kings. The win brings the team from Punjab in the mid table and into contention for the top-four slot.
Punjab, which batted first, could not make use of the excellent start provided by Shaun Marsh and the talented Mandeep Singh. Azhar Mehmood, who got promoted to no. 3, hit a couple of lusty sixes, but fell with the score on 97 in 12 overs. Thereafter, none of the batsmen could have any say as the ended on a slightly disappointing 156 in their quota. Singh once again impressed with an innings of 56 while Marsh contributed with 32 runs. Albie Morkel was the pick of the bowlers, snaring 3 wickets for 29 runs, while Bravo and Kulasekara bowled miserly spells.
In Faf Du Plessis, CSK have an excellent replacement for Hussey, and the Protean in combination with Badrinath gave his team a good start. However, Azhar Mehmood struck at just the right time to send both the openers packing. Dhoni made a critical tactical error when he sent in Saha at no. 4, a move with badly misfired. The wicket keeper batsman took the momentum out of the innings with an inning of 6 runs off 14 balls. Raina, who has been having a disappointing IPL so far, too followed. Dhoni got run out and Jadeja too could not contribute. Just when it seemed that CSK would go down without a fight, in came Dwayne Bravo. His big hitting meant that CSK were still in with a chance when they needed 17 runs off the last over. However, Morkel’s dismissal off the first ball put paid to any hopes of a XSK win, as Azhar Mehmood bowled a cunning over.
A win could have taken the defending champs to no. 2 , instead they will have to languish in the middle of the points table.