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Dubai: Ambati Rayudu’s scintillating counter-attack went in vain for the sloppy Chennai Super Kings as Punjab Kings scored a clinical 11-run win and bring their title hopes back on track in the Indian Premier League at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.

Former Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan produced another masterly effort to remain unbeaten on 88 and give his team a winning total after a sedate start. Chennai Super Kings have themselves to blame as the defending champions did not measure up to the tag and made numerous errors on the field.

The four-time champions have made it a habit to drop a few catches that have continued to haunt them in the last two games. While they won against Mumbai despite the lapse, both Gujarat Titans and Punjab Kings did not let got the golden opportunity and grabbed two points each. Rayudu's knock is worth in gold as he scored 78 off 39 balls with five sixes and seven fours.

Spraying all over the wicket

The loss has virtually knocked the Super Kings out of the running, which certainly they don’t deserve to be after such shoddy fielding. But for Rayudu, it could have been worse as barring Ruturaj Gaikwad, none of the other batters could keep the Yellow Lions in the chase. However, Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh were too good to defend the total. Both gave away only 23 runs each in their four overs and grabbed three wickets in all.

On the contrary, the Chennai bowlers were spraying the ball all over the wicket, bowling several wides and even no balls with the ball landing away from the pitch. The 11 wides, and the two no balls, was the winning margin for Punjab. The extras not only gave Punjab more opportunities to score, but also made Dhawan’s job easier. The left-hander took his time to unleash his array of shots in the final overs.

The victory, coming in after two losses, should give Punjab the confidence to go forward.

Difficult task for Chennai in the last over, need 27 to win

Arshdeep has made it almost impossible for Chennai, giving away 8 runs off the 19 over. Now the Super Kings need to score 27 off six balls. Will Dhoni and Jadeja manage to score those runs? It should be Rishi Dhawan to bowl the last over. Both batters must fancy their chances, but now they should also be aware on the numerous extras they had conceded.

Rabada ends Rayudu’s stunning knock to bring Punjab back

Rabada strikes the crucial blow, dismissing the dangerous Rayudu, who scored 78 off 39 balls, with a Yorker to even the contest.  How important these two bowlers, Rabada and Arshdeep, to Punjab’s fortunes. When they were facing the wall, the pace duo gave away only 12 runs in two overs while also getting the crucial wicket. Brilliant stuff. Now the equation is 35 from 12 balls.

Tight over by Arshdeep adds to the drama

Arshdeep is not giving in. The young left-arm pacer bowled another tidy over, conceding just 6 runs. Still one over from Rishi Dhawan or spinner will be the key and Chennai batters will be waiting for that over. CSK are 147/4 after 17 overs, needing another 41 from 18, highly achievable.

Rayudu goes on the rampage

A brilliant counter-attack by Rayudu. The Chennai batter waited patiently for his pick and found the weakling in Sandeep Sharma. The pacer carted for three sixes and one four in the over to firmly tilt the contest in favour of Chennai. Dhawan saved a certain four off the first ball, which could have made it worse. Rayudu is getting better and better and now his confidence is sky high. One could hear plenty of whistles from the Whistle Podu army. After 16 overs, Chennai ae 141/4, needing another 47 from four overs. Punjab were 145/1 after 17.

A gem of an innings from Rauydu

A gem of a knock worth the weight in gold. Rayudu scores another half-century and keeps playing the big shots almost at will. Should he stay till the end, then Punjab will not able to stop him from taking his team home. They desperately need the wicket of Rayudu. After 15, CSK are 118/4. The Yellow Lions need another 70 runs in 30 balls. Punjab were 123/1 at the same stage, only five runs behind.

Difference growing in favour of Punjab

Rayudu continues to take chances and finds the ropes to keep Chennai in the chase, but the margin is getting bigger. The Punjab bowlers are producing a disciplined effort, sticking to the line and length and not giving anything extra. Chennai, after 14, are 103/4, while Punjab were 117/1.

Punjab tightening the hold on the contest

Punjab are tightening the screws on Chennai and the credit should go to the captaincy of Mayank Agarwal. Sensing danger, the Punjab skipper brought back two of his main bowlers to break the threatening partnership. While the dependable Arshdeep restricted the run flow to add more pressure, Rabada broke the partnership with Gaikwad’s wicket. The left-arm pacer, coming from round the stumps, creates an angle and fires straight into the stumps line. Tough to take a chance. After 13 overs, Chennai are 90/4 with the asking rate reaching almost 14 runs an over.

Rayudu takes the fight to the opposition

The difference in this close contest so far has been the fielding. The Punjab fielders have not let any opportunity pass and have been spot on to make some good saves. The fifth bowler could prove costly for Punjab. With the ball now getting older, the pacers will not have much of a assistance. Rauydu sensing the chance against Livingstone makes the most of the opportunity to propel Chennai ahead. After 11, Super Kings are 81/3, needing another 107 in 54 balls.

Even Stevens after nine overs

Rayudu has ignited the chase with some aggressive strokes accelerate the run rate that was alarmingly low. The right-hander has been severe on the Punjab bowlers and feasting on the offerings. After 9 overs, Chennai are 64/3, needing another 124 from 66 balls. Punjab were 63/1 at the same stage.

Chennai struggle in chase after third wicket

Chennai’s chase is floundering. Dube plays the ball on to his stumps to also make it a memorable comeback for Rishi Dhawan. It’s a day for the Dhawans. A good partnership is the need of the hour for to Chennai to come out of the hole. After 7, CSK are 40/3.

Arshdeep ends Santner stay as teams almost level

A walk on the park for Santner has his leg stump flying. Seeing six fielders on the off side, the New Zealander walks towards off stump only to expose the wickets to be bowled around his legs by Ashdeep in his first over. The left-hander goes without contributing much as power play comes to an end with Chennai scoring 32/2, not much differentiates the teams as Punjab were 37/1.

Slow start for Chennai

Slow start for Chennai, similar to what Punjab batters did earlier in the day. After 4 overs, the defending champions are 18/1. For the record, Punjab were 78/1 in 11 overs and scored more than 100 in the last nine. 

Sandeep gives Punjab the breakthrough as Uthappa goes

Ruturaj Gaikwad shows plenty of promise to end his slump, but Robin Uthappa goes early. Chennai have not been getting the start that was the highlight in the last season. Veteran pacer Sandeep Sharma justified his selection to get the breakthrough. Gaikwad, who is familiar with the conditions, knows that he needs to stay till the end. After 2 overs, Chennai are 11/1.

Gamble pays off

Shikhar Dhawan anchored the innings with an unbeaten 88 to give Punjab Kings a winning total against a sloppy Chennai Super Kings in Match 38 of the Indian Premier League season 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday (today).

Dhawan’s took a leaf out of Rahul’s book, who almost played a similar knock against Mumbai Indians on a similar wicket a day earlier. The left-hander took his time in the first 10 overs before unleashing his array of strokes, sometimes a desperate attempt to improve his scoring rate and reach his second half-century this season. Nevertheless, fortune favours the brave and his brave attempts paid dividends to take Punjab Kings to 187/4 in 20 overs, which is seven runs more than what they scored in the first leg.

The wicket had plenty of bounce and spin initially, but has eased towards the end. Chennai had to blame themselves for allowing Punjab to set them a big target due to their sloppy fielding and numerous extras – 11 wides and two no balls.

It is not all doom as a good start, even though a slow one, should put them on track and approach by rotating the strike. One good news for Chennai is that the pacers don’t get good purchase. Still Punjab hold a huge edge.

Second wicket halts Punjab’s progress

Chennai labour to get the second wicket. Rajapaksa could not get the elevation right as he skied the ball Dube, who ensured that the Sri Lankan left-hander is not lucky the third time, off Bravo. In form Livingstone comes in to boost the run-rate, though it is not going to be easy to play the shots straight away. Chennai bowlers continue to spray the ball around and the extras stand at 13, 11 wides and two no balls. That’s more than two overs, which means Punjab innings should have come to an end now without the extras. After 18, Punjab are 152/2.

Advantage Punjab as Dhawan feasts on freebies

Dhawan got some freebies from Bravo, who had the mid-off inside the circle and bowled perfect length balls. The left-hander played one along the carpet and lofted the other. Dhawan needs to be there to give that extra runs for Punjab. The partnership is 108 in 67 balls with Dhawan moving into the 70s. After 17, Punjab are 145/1. In good position to go past 190-run mark.

Home stretch holds the key for Punjab

Who should bowl with Bravo? A big question. But going by the last few overs, it would be better to bring the spinners from the other end as the Punjab batters are able to force the ball due to the pace. After 15, Punjab are 123/1. The 30 balls could set the tone of the match.

Dhawan completes another half-century

Dhawan’s second half-century in this IPL season couldn’t have come at a better time. After the initial struggle, the left-handed opener has shifted into the top gear to take Punjab to 117/1 after 14 overs. Rajapaksa is now also moving at a good pace. Kings could even reach closer to 180 now with six overs to go, which will make Chennai’s task extremely difficult.

Wides and misfield plaguing Chennai

The misfield and dropped catches is plaguing the Chennai Super Kings. It’s still a mystery how the team have dropped to such abysmal depths. If one takes away the dropped catches and the wides, which now stands at 10, there’s hardly anything of note for Punjab Kings. Chennai did that in the previous game, and sadly repeating it again. After 13, Punjab are 103/1.

Dhawan takes the initiative to propel Punjab

The big over has finally arrived for Punjab. Chaudhary, who was becoming a Natarajan for Super Kings, has been impressive until Dhawan chanced his arm to score three fours off the over. After 12, 94/1. The stage is set for the Punjab batters to propel them past the 160-run mark. Come on, go for it

Punjab batters need to up the ante

Punjab are not able to find their rhythm. Both Dhawan and Rajapaksa are going at a strikerate of around 100. The duo need to show some urgency, however going by the previous game a total of 160 should be a challenging total. After 11, Punjab are 78/1 with some aggressive running.

Rajapaksa riding his luck

Rajapaksa is riding his luck on this day, two catches dropped in three overs. After being dropped earlier, this time Santner misjudges the slog-sweep only to palm the ball over the boundary, adding salt to the wounds. Jadeja was the bowler on both occasions. After 9 overs, Punjab are 63/1. At this rate Chennai will be chasing a big total.

Chennai fielders continue to fumble on the field

Chennai Super Kings fielders have developed butter fingers and catches continue to slip through their hands. It’s happening with amazing regularity and for the third match in succession another catch was dropped early in the game. This time it was the turn of Ruturaj Gaikwad, who misjudged the catch off Rajapaksa and couldn’t hold on to the ball after a desperate dive. Dhawan seems to be getting into the groove, but still the run rate is way below. After 8, Punjab are 51/1, struggling to cross 50-run mark.

Chennai get the breakthough as Agarwal loses patience

Agarwal’s struggle ends, the Punjab skipper tried to go over the point only to find Shivam Dube. You can call it losing patience or making the most of the field restrictions, but the reality is that it has put more pressure on other Punjab batters. It’s going to be tricky wicket to bat on. Slower one bowls, it’s difficult to score, especially for the newcomers. One batter should bat deep to ensure that the team get a good score. Both Dhawan and Agarwal are playing on the square of the wicket, which suggests the ball is stopping a bit and bouncing. After 6, Kings are 37/1 that includes one six and two 4s.

Punjab openers struggling to find their timing right

Now it seems Agarwal is struggling more than taking his time to score runs. The Punjab opener has not read the wicket yet and playing some false shots, though lucky to be there at the crease still. Both batters are not finding the middle on a dry wicket that should assist the spinners once the ball becomes old. Hopefully, for Punjab fans they will spend more time at the crease to help them gain confidence. After 4 overs, Punjab are 22/0 after surviving a few close run out chances.

Dhawan crosses 6,000 IPL runs

Punjab have changed their throwing caution to the wind approach and playing the ball on merit, taking their time to get their eye in. The ball is coming on nicely to the bat and both Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal are not willing to give in without a fight. Dhawan, in the process, completes 6,000 runs in IPL. After 2 overs, Punjab are 13/0.

Chennai win toss and elect to bowl

Chennai Super Kings skipper Ravindra Jadeja wins toss and elects to bowl first. Going by Sunday’s game, to be played on the same ground, it’s not going to be easy to chase. However, in another record of sorts, Punjab’s new skipper Mayank Agarwal has lost six out of seven tosses. Chennai have retained the squad that beat Mumbai, while Punjab make three changes - Sandeep Sharma, Rishi Dhawan and Bhanuka Rajapaksa in place of Shahrukh, Khan, Nathan Ellis and Vaibhav Arora. Kings have strengthened their misfiring batting by playing both Bairstow and Rajapaksa.

Chennai fielding a worry

The Chennai Super Kings will be eager to avenge the humiliating loss they had suffered at the hands of Punjab Kings in the first leg as both the teams face off in the return leg at the Wankhede Stadium today.

With both teams at the bottom half of the table at eighth and ninth positions, Chennai will be entering the fray on a high after a thrilling last-ball victory over Mumbai Indians while Punjab’s fortunes have gone south since the 54-run triumph in Match 11 at Brabourne Stadium earlier this month.

The Punjab Kings have steadfastly been going downhill and one of the primary reasons for their lacklustre form, suffering three losses in the last four games, is the abject failure of their batting.

Barring Liam Livingstone, none of the other batters have been consistent enough to give them a challenging total for Punjab bowlers to make a match of it. The experienced Jonny Bairstow is yet to fire and it looks like the England batter will pave the way for the return of Bhanuka Rajapaksa to the playing XI. Incidentally, the last match the Sri Lankan left-hander played was against Chennai on April 3.

The history also is not in favour of Punjab as Chennai hold the upper hand in the head to head record, with the Yellow Lions winning 16 of the 27 meetings so far.

On the other hand, Chennai wear a settled look and the players seemed to have found their roles to perfection. Mahendra Singh Dhoni reproduced his old magic that had made him the most-feared finisher of the game by hitting Jaydev Unadkat to 18 runs in the final over to give Chennai an improbable win.

While the form of former skipper is a pleasing news to the Whistle Podu army, the current skipper Ravindra Jadeja is having a horrid time with bat and the ball for the defending champions. Though it is understandable as every player goes through this phase in their career, what is alarming is that the brilliant fielder has been dropping catches and seemed to be completely distracted. Fielding overall has been a cause of worry for the Super Kings, who have been missing many chances that have comeback to haunt them. David Miller played a match-winning knock for Gujarat Titans after he was dropped midway through his unbeaten 94, while Tilak Varma, dropped very early in the innings, steadied Mumbai innings to give the five-time champions a challenging total.

After so many matches played on the four centres, the Wankhede Stadium pitch should be wearing a dry and barren look and should assist the Chennai bowlers more than the Punjab spinners, who are yet to make a mark in this edition.