Chennai Super Kings 181 for 0 (du Plessis 87*, Watson 83*) beat Kings XI Punjab 178 for 4 (Rahul 63, Thakur 2-39) by 10 wickets
After losing three matches in a row, the Chennai Super Kings finally ditched their go-slow at the top and maximized the powerplay, dragging themselves off the bottom of the points table with a ten-wicket shellacking of the Kings XI Punjab in Dubai. Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson reeled off an unbroken 181 together for the first wicket – the highest partnership ever for the Super Kings – to hand the Kings XI their fourth defeat. It was also the second-highest target chased down in the IPL without losing a wicket.
Du Plessis, in particular, wasn’t fluent in the early exchanges, but he chanced his arm and kept clearing the infield. In the last over of the powerplay, du Plessis flitted around the crease and carted Chris Jordan for four fours in five balls, seemingly ruining the bowler’s 32nd birthday.
After managing 4, 33, 14, 1 in his first four innings this season, Watson, too, dashed out of the blocks rolling out his vintage slog-sweeps and lofts down the ground. He was the first to raise his half-century, off 31 balls, before du Plessis brought up his own landmark off 33 balls. The pair then cranked up the tempo further and toyed with a Kings XI side that had drafted in Jordan to beef up their bowling attack in place of New Zealand allrounder Jimmy Neesham.
The Kings XI had started strongly, too, earlier in the evening, with captain KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal putting together their third fifty-plus opening stand in five innings. Rahul cut out all risks and was on 46 off 44 balls at the start of the 15th over; the Kings XI were 114 for 2 at that point. However, the big acceleration didn’t quite come to pass as Shardul Thakur had Rahul edging behind for 63 off 52 balls with a slower yorker. Thakur had also dismissed the big-hitting Nicholas Pooran in the same over – the 18th – to help limit the Kings XI to 178 for 4.
More to follow …
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