IPL 2022: Punjab Kings hold their nerve in death overs to beat Dhoni, CSK

In a near-repeat of Sunday’s game at Wankhede Stadium, Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten 88 lifted Punjab Kings to 187 for 4. Ambati Rayudu’s 78 off 39 turned around a misfiring chase but Kagiso Rabada sent him back with two overs left, and MS Dhoni wasn’t able to reprise his last-over heroics from Chennai Super Kings’ previous game against Mumbai Indians.

Monday follows Sunday

The match was played on the same side pitch on which Lucknow Super Giants defeated Mumbai Indians a day ago. And at the halfway stage of the first innings, both LSG and PK were on the exact score – 72 for 1.
Stroke-making proved to be difficult again, especially at the start, on an already sticky surface that was being used on successive nights. Even the field placings were the same; deep point and deep square leg were the two deep fielders in the powerplay, with both third man and fine leg in the ring. With CSK’s three spinners in action in helpful conditions, for a while it looked like they were operating at Chepauk. But PK would go on to take 115 off the last ten overs; LSG had managed 96.

One of the differences was CSK’s twin drops of Bhanuka Rajapaksa in successive overs from Ravindra Jadeja right after the powerplay. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mitchell Santner were the culprits on either side of the longer square leg-side boundary. Rajapaksa scored 42 off 32 helped along by misfield and poor deliveries in addition to the drops. He and Dhawan added 110 for the second wicket in 11.3 overs.
Rajapaksa departed probably an over or two too late than what PK would have wanted, delaying the arrival of Liam Livingstone until the 18th over. But it also meant the English all-rounder came in with a clear mindset and did not have to think about batting longer in tricky conditions. Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow scored a combined 25 off ten balls, helping PK post 19 more than LSG had.

Dhawan takes it deep

Continuing the similarities from Sunday night, Dhawan batted through the first innings, like KL Rahul had, but with not as much late acceleration in an 88 off 59. Rahul had taken on the longer square rope and beaten the boundary riders with deft placement. What Dhawan did instead was make good use of the shorter side. He made sure the offerings on the pads disappeared past short fine leg. He also slogged a couple of sixes over the shorter deep-midwicket boundary.

Dhawan may not be the tallest but all his moving around and arching enables him to have a decent reach. When the longer boundary was in play to his stronger off-side, he ensured CSK’s helpful overpitched offerings were lofted over mid-off or driven past him for fours. It was Dhawan who started the PK acceleration with three fours in the 12th over bowled by Mukesh Choudhary, the left-arm seamer’s natural incoming angle allowing Dhawan to line him up.

Rayudu steps in

The parallels with Sunday night just kept coming. CSK’s chase was foundering just like Mumbai Indians’ had, both top orders failing to get going. And while Tilak Varma had threatened an MI revival for a while, Ambati Rayudu went a step ahead and got CSK close. Rayudu had hurt his left forearm at cover trying to stop a drive off the third ball of the game from Mayank Agarwal, and had spent the rest of the innings off the field.

He walked in at 40 for 3 after seven overs, and smacked his second ball from Rahul Chahar to the extra-cover boundary. The forcing cut, the massive slog-sweep, the charge-and-swish – whenever the asking-rate seemed to be getting out of hand, Rayudu had the boundary waiting.

A 23-run 16th over off Sandeep Sharma, playing his first match in nearly a month, brought the equation back to around two runs a ball. Rayudu swiped and slashed three successive sixes and ended the over with a dash to hammer a four over midwicket. There didn’t seem to be much dew given there wasn’t much ball-wiping from the PK fielders, but Sandeep still delivered high full tosses. And long boundary or not, Rayudu was not missing out.

But just when it seemed Rayudu’s momentum would carry CSK home, Kagiso Rabada intervened, landing one around the blockhole and sending Rayudu back.

Arshdeep, Rishi see off Dhoni

Dhoni arrived with 35 needed off 13 and like Jaydev Unadkat in CSK’s previous match, he had another left-armer in his sights – Arshdeep Singh, who bowled the 19th. But the young seamer stuck to the full length and wide angle across Dhoni to the longer boundary. Dhoni got one away past extra cover, but Agarwal there had already prevented one, and Arshdeep denied Dhoni off two other deliveries.

Ravindra Jadeja’s inability to find the boundary meant CSK required an improbable 27 off the last over. And in his first IPL game in six years, Rishi Dhawan was good enough to bring up a comfortable victory.

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