A superb, fighting half-century by seasoned Ambati Rayudu went in vain as a clinical bowling performance saw Punjab Kings beat Chennai Super Kings by 11 runs in Match 38 of IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium here on Monday.
Chasing a target of 188 set by Punjab Kings largely boosted by a brilliant 88 not out by Shikhar Dhawan, Chennai were in trouble soon.
Rayudu came in to bat with Chennai struggling at 40/3 and took them to safety with a blazing 78 off 39 balls, hitting seven fours and 6 sixes to raise hopes for a CSK victory. He raised 64 runs off 32 deliveries for the fifth wicket partnership.
But in the end, Jadeja (21 off 16 balls) could not guide his team to victory as from needing 47 off 24 balls, they reached a stage where they needed 27 off the last six deliveries with Jadeja and M.S Dhoni at the crease.
Dhoni struck Rishi Dhawan for a six off the first ball but was out off the third legal delivery and Jadeja could manage only a six and a single off the final two deliveries as CSK slumped to their sixth defeat in eight matches — ending with 176/6 in 20 overs.
Chennai got off to a poor start and lost opener Robin Uthappa with 10 runs on the board, top-edging a length ball by Sandeep Sharma to Shikhar Dhawan. It soon became 40/3 as Mitchell Santner (9) and Shivam Dube (8) got out cheaply.
But just when it looked like they will suffer a collapse, Rayudu got together with the other opener, Ruturaj Gaikwad to pull them out of the woods. Both Rayudu and Gaikwad started cautiously but struck some fine boundaries on the right occasions to keep Chennai’s hope alive.
They added 49 runs for the fourth wicket and just when it was looking like they will raise the tempo, Gaikwad, who despatched Rabada to the boundaries off successive deliveries in the first over, was out, caught by Mayank Agarwal while trying to hit Rabada for a second successive four in the 13th over.
Rayudu however, kept up the good work. He struck Sandeep Sharma for fours off successive deliveries as the bowler strayed on legs and blasted Rahul Charar for a four and a six in the 15th over before hammering Sandeep Sharma for 23 runs in the 16th over, blasting three sixes and a four.
He and skipper Ravindra Jadeja raised 64 runs for the fifth wicket in 32 balls, Rayudu doing the bulk of the scoring. He got out just when it looked he was good for a century, cleaned up by Rabada with a superb yorker backing away from the leg side but missing the ball completely to see his leg stump re-arranged. Rayudu’s brilliant 78 off 39 balls left CSK needing 47 off 24 balls.
With Arshdeep Singh and Rabada bowling two good overs, the equation came down to 27 off the last 6 deliveries and eventually to 19 off two balls and though Jadeja struck Rishi Dhawan for a six, CSK eventually fell short by 11 runs.
Shikhar Dhawan carried his bat through as he scored an unbeaten 88 off 59 deliveries, hitting 9 fours and 2 sixes as he helped Punjab Kings to 187/4 after they were asked to bat first by Chennai Super Kings skipper Ravindra Jadeja.