IPL: Nair’s quickfire half-century lifts Punjab to 153 vs Chennai

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Pune, May 20 (IANS) A quickfire lower order cameo by Karun Nair helped Kings XI Punjab post a modest 153 against Chennai Super Kings in the last league encounter of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.

Coming into bat when Punjab were in a spot of bother at 76/4 in the 12th over, Nair plundered 54 runs off 26 balls to breathe life into the innings. The right-hander produced an exciting display of power hitting, smashing three boundaries and five towering sixes.

The Chennai bowlers came out all guns blazing at their adopted home ground to bundle out the visitors for a modest total.

Lungi Ngidi was the wrecker-in-chief for the yellow brigade with stunning figures of 4/10 from his four overs.

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Put in to bat, the visitors were off to a disastrous start as Chennai pacers Ngidi and Deepak Chahar shattered Punjab’s top order.

While Ngidi sent back Punjab openers Lokesh Rahul (7) and Chris Gayle (0), Chahar dismissed the dangerous Aaron Finch (4) which left Punjab reeling at 16/3 after the first four overs.

Manoj Tiwary (35 off 30) and David Miller (24 off 22) then showed some resistance, putting on a 60-run stand for the fourth wicket.

However, just when the partnership was settling down, Ravindra Jadeja sent back Tiwary, who was caught behind by Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 12th over.

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo too, joined the party as a perfect yorker from him dismantled Miller’s stump in the 13th over with Punjab’s score reading 80/5.

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Karun Nair then showed terrific fight down the order, hitting some lusty blows. However, he lacked support from the other end as Punjab again lost three wickets of Axar Patel (14), Ravichandran Ashwin (0) and Andrew Tye (0) in quick succession.

It was South African paceman Ngidi again who scalped the wickets of Ashwin and Tye while Shardul Thakur got the better of Patel.

Just when the visitors reached the 150-run mark, Bravo applied the brakes on a dangerous looking Nair’s innings. Nair’s knock was laced with three boundaries and five hits into the stands.

Thakur then performed the last rites as he dismissed tailender Ankit Rajpoot (2) to wrap up Ashwin’s men for 153.

Brief scores:

Kings XI Punjab: 153 all out in 19.4 overs (Karun Nair 54, Manoj Tiwary 35; Lungi Ngidi 4/10) vs Chennai Super Kings.

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