Chennai undone by inspired Punjab

22 Mar 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in IPL

Juan TheronAn uncannily insipid batting effort by Chennai Super Kings allowed Kings XI Punjab to register their first win in a tournament in a game which went into the super over, the first of the tournament. Chasing Punjab’s disappointing 136/8, Chennai were cruising at one stage at 96 for 1, but committed hara-kiri and were left stranded at 136 for seven in the final over.

Juan Theron, who was responsible for getting Punjab back into the game with an excellent spell for 2/17, then capped off a perfect game, claiming Matthew Hayden and Suresh Raina in the super over, conceding just nine runs. Chasing 10 to win, Mahela Jayawardene created further drama when he followed up a lofted six off Muttiah Muralitharan with another airy shot, which landed into the hands of the fielder just short of the boundary. Yuvraj Singh, with a reverse sweep, however ensured that Punjab did not lose this golden opportunity.

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With all due credit to Punjab for their first win, it has to be said that Chennai kicked themselves in the foot. After openers Hayden (33) and Pathiv Patel (57) gave them another flying start, they should have easily won the game. However that was not to be. Instead, skipper Raina ran himself out for 15 and Murali Vijay was trapped in front of the stumps for a duck by the impressive Theron.

S Badrinath did not help the team’s cause by edging Yuvraj behind the wickets for 2, Kumar Sangakkara taking a brilliant fumbling catch, standing up to the wickets. Despite the quick loss of wickets, at 104/4 and with Patel still at the crease, Chennai continued to remain favourites. But, the momentum was now with Punjab and they used it to the best possible advantage.

Patel, who was well set having reached his half-century, threw his wicket away, blindly going for a slog against Piyush Chawla, Truly, the pressure had got to him. The remaining batsmen found it equally tougher. Chennai were not helped in the cause as big-hitting Justin Kemp was hurt earlier in the day and could not bat at his usual position.

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Instead, Manpreet Gony came in and went without having made much of a contribution and when R Ashwin was dismissed in the final over, try to hit the winning runs, Punjab knew that they had a great chance of pulling it off in the super over.

Chennai’s poor batting effort meant the excellent bowling effort of Muralitharan earlier in the day went in vain. The Sri Lankan great picked up his two countrymen from the opposition – Jayawardene and Sangakkara — and later added Mhd Kaif to his kitty, as Punjab came up with yet another disappointing batting effort. Murali was excellently supported by Albie Morkel, who picked up the other two big fishes from Punjab, Ravi Bopara and Yuvraj.

The Kings XI did experiment with their batting order, sending Irfan Pathan in to the open the innings. It did click as he smashed 39 from 32 balls. However, with Yuvraj (43) being the only other substantial contributor, they could accumulate only 136, good enough on a day Chennai faltered.

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