Liam Livingstone blasted a 27-ball half-century and shared a 95-run partnership with opener Shikhar Dhawan as Punjab Kings posted a below-par 180/8 in 20 overs against Chennai Super Kings at the Brabourne Stadium here on Sunday.
Livingstone strode in to bat at 14/2 in the second over and did not show any nerves as he blazed to 60 off 32 deliveries, hitting five boundaries and five sixes. He and Dhawan rescued Punjab Kings from a precarious position of 14/2 in the second over.
Asked to bat first, Punjab lost skipper Mayank Agarwal off the second ball of the match. Agarwal hit Mukesh Choudhary for a four off the first delivery but was out on the next delivery when he tried to drive a full-length delivery that landed a bit wide.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who struck a nine-ball 31 in the previous outing, went for a non-existent run after hitting Chris Jordan for a six. Jordan fielded it and took a shy at the stumps, missed it. But the 40-year-old M.S Dhoni, rushing in to the wicket showed great athleticism and presence of mind as he collected the ball cleanly and threw down the stumps to catch Rajapaksha just short.
But Punjab Kings found a saviour in Englishman Livingstone as he scored a vital half-century during a charmed life in the middle in the company of opener Dhawan (33, 24b, 4×4, 1×6). They raised 95 vital runs for the third wicket to pull the team to safety from a precarious 14/2.
Livingstone pulled Mukesh Choudhary over fine leg for a six and drove him over extra cover for a four in the bowler’s second over. He handed Choudhary the same treatment in his next over too, pulling a length ball over deep mid-wicket for a six and following it up with a boundary over mid-off a ball later. He blasted him for two more fours off successive balls in the same over as Punjab Kings crossed 50 in the fifth over with Livingstone blazing to 32 off 12 deliveries.
The 28-year-old England batter welcomed Ravindra Jadeja by depositing his first delivery of the match in the sightscreen, jumping out to lift the left-arm spinner over his head. He was dropped by Ambati Rayudu off the last ball of his first over, the Andhra batsman putting down a regulation catch at short third man.
Dhoni thought he had got him off Pretorius but the video umpire ruled that the ball had landed on the ground as the keeper completed his dive. Livingstone went on to complete his half-century off 27 deliveries before getting out a few deliveries later, caught by Rayudu at the short third man as he sliced a thick edge off a faster one by Jadeja.
Debutant Jitesh Sharma struck three sixes in his brief stay of 17 deliveries that produced 26 runs but Punjab Kings lost their way from there on and ended well short of the 200 that they were looking at one time.
Choudhary proved expensive as he conceded 52 runs off his four overs, claiming one wicket. Chris Jordan, playing his first match for Chennai, returned the best figures of 2/23 while Dwaine Pretorius claimed 2/30.
Brief scores: Punjab Kings 180/8 in 20 overs (Liam Livingstone 60, Shikhar Dhawan 33; Chris Jordan 2/23, Dwaine Pretorius 2/30) against Chennai Super Kings.