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Raza trumps Pathirana as Punjab Kings win last-ball thriller

Punjab Kings 201 for 6 (Prabhsimran 42, Livingstone 40, Deshpande 3-49, Jadeja 2-32) beat Chennai Super Kings 200 for 4 (Conway 92*, Gaikwad 37) by four wickets

A last-ball thriller that ended with Sikandar Raza pulling Matheesha Pathirana for three quick runs stunned a Chepauk crowd that may have expected their team to return home with a win and get closer to the top of the table. Chennai Super Kings had almost everything going for them; Devon Conway walloped an unbeaten 92, MS Dhoni stretched their total to 200 with two sixes to end the innings, and they strangled Kings’ chase through the middle overs, but lost despite largely being ahead through the final over thanks to Pathirana’s accuracy.

With nine to win off the last over, Raza and Shahrukh Khan couldn’t hit a single boundary against Pathirana’s dipping deliveries. After a single, a leg bye, a dot ball and two twos off Pathirana’s yorkers and slower balls, Kings needed three off the last ball. Raza shuffled across and pulled a short-of-length slower ball over square leg, landing it right in between deep fine leg and deep midwicket to secure three and seal victory with his arms aloft.

The two points took Kings to 10 points alongside three other teams, and to fifth place on the table, just behind Super Kings on net run rate.

Livingstone turns tables at the right time

Super Kings were favourites when Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran struggled to score freely off Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana. With 72 to win off 30, Livingstone got to face Tushar Deshpande and belted three sixes in four balls with four leg byes in between. Even though he fell off the fifth ball of the over, Kings still had Jitesh Sharma and Shahrukh to come, and the 24-run over brought their equation down to 48 off 24.
Curran and Jitesh slammed straight sixes off Ravindra Jadeja in the 17th, but Pathirana was going to bowl two of the last three overs. He removed Curran’s off stump with a stunning, full delivery that swerved past his outside edge, and with 22 needed off 12, Kings went after Deshpande in the 19th to try and ensure they didn’t leave too much for the last over. Jitesh lofted the first ball over cover for four and got out to a contentious decision two balls later when substitute fielder Shaik Rasheed caught him at the wide long-on boundary while almost touching the boundary cushions with his foot. With 15 required off eight, Raza edged his first ball for four to make it a 13-run over.

Even though Pathirana sent down an excellent last over, Raza manipulated the field perfectly to pick ones and twos and sealed the match with a hard-run three.

Boundaries rain in Kings’ powerplay, but not beyond

Kings came out all guns blazing in a steep chase. Shikhar Dhawan danced down off the second ball and went on to smash 21 off nine balls in Akash Singh’s first two overs. Prabhsimran Singh took on Theekshana’s carrom ball at the other end in a 12-run fourth over, and Kings raced to 46 for no loss in four overs.
Dhawan sliced Deshpande to short third in the fifth over to fall for 28, but Prabhsimran kept his foot on the pedal with at least one boundary an over before being stumped off a 100kph Jadeja delivery in the ninth. It was then that Kings went through a slowdown, with Atharva Taide managing just 13 off 16 before falling to Jadeja in a three-run 11th over. Livingstone and Curran struggled to score freely off the Sri Lankan duo, scoring just 22 runs in overs 12 to 14, which pushed the asking rate beyond 12. But Livingstone soon broke the shackles against Deshpande, and Kings were back on track.

CSK make quick start on a slow pitch

The Kings bowlers had to bowl in the unforgiving Chennai heat, and they were made to sweat further by Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway. Gaikwad showed excellent timing whereas Conway took the aerial route more often, such as when he hit Curran for back-to-back boundaries down the ground in the sixth over, which went for 16. Super Kings, who have lost the fewest wickets in the powerplay this IPL, finished the phase on 57 for 0.

Conway smashes fifty, Dube promoted to take on spinners

Spinners were always going to be in focus at Chepauk. Rahul Chahar, Kings’ lead spinner, was introduced in the powerplay and the openers hit a six each off him down the ground to push the run rate towards nine. Conway also reeled off consecutive fours off Raza’s flat offbreaks before the bowler unleashed a legbreak to have Gaikwad stumped for 37.
Super Kings promoted Dube to counter the spinners, and he also pulled Kagiso Rabada for six soon after Conway reverse-swept Raza to raise a 30-ball fifty.

Conway bosses the middle overs

At 121 for 1 after 13, Kings brought back Arshdeep Singh, who struck when Dube holed out to long-on while attempting his third six. Super Kings kept sending out left-hand batters – Moeen Ali came in next – and they kept attacking the spinners. Conway and Moeen lapped up Livingstone for a 16-run 15th over, and Conway hit two more fours with sweeps off Chahar, before Arshdeep and Rabada slowed things a little with 11 boundary-free balls in the 18th and 19th overs.

The Dhoni show

Once looking set for 200, Super Kings were 185 with an over to go. Two hundred looked even more distant when Jadeja fell off the first ball of the 20th and Dhoni managed just one off his first two balls. But once Dhoni got the strike back, he smoked two sixes to end the innings, an uppercut and a leg-side whack off a low full-toss from Curran. Conway stayed unbeaten on 92 off 52 with 16 fours and a six.

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