Chris Gayle led the charge for Punjab in his first game of the season scoring 63 of just 33 balls.

Despite Dhonis late heroics CSK handed first defeat of season by Kings XI PunjabPTI
news IPL Monday, April 16, 2018 - 13:13


MS Dhoni scored a blistering 79 of 44 balls but it wasn’t enough as the Chennai Super Kings was handed its first loss of this IPL season, after falling 4 runs short of Kings XI Punjab’s total of 197. Chris Gayle led the charge for Punjab in his first game of the season scoring 63 of just 33 balls.

Dhoni, who was suffering from a stiff back paced his innings to near perfection as CSK scored 63 runs in the final 4 overs. CSK’s captain scored his first 33 runs off 29 deliveries but then went on a rampage towards the end of the innings. He went on to score 46 runs off just 15 balls including 19 runs of Andrew Tye’s bowling in the penultimate over leaving CSK with 17 runs to get from the final over. This was the same total required of the final over in their previous match against Kolkata Knight Riders. Mohit Sharma, however, held his nerve and conceded just 12 runs as an injured Dhoni who was struggling to run, relied solely on his power.

Chris Gayle, who was a surprise inclusion to the KXIP squad, proved his worth as he announced to the world that he’s still as lethal as ever. The game plan from the CSK bowlers was to make him reach for the ball as much as possible. This backfired as Gayle smashed the bowlers through the long-off and the cover region as he scored 39 of his 63 runs including 4 boundaries and 3 maximums in the same area.

Gayle, who was named man of the match for the 51st time in his T20 career, was asked about his performance during the post-match presentation. He replied, “It’s good to be back, to be honest with you. I got a text this morning saying that you’re (him) playing in the 11. I know the fans want to see entertainment and that’s what the team is all about and more so, importantly we got that win (for) which I’m very happy and it’s a winning start (for Gayle) with this franchise, so I’m really happy.”

While Dhoni and Gayle’s performances for their teams were by and large identical, it was their teammates that proved to be the difference.

Gayle was supported by a number of batsmen making small, but extremely crucial contributions throughout the innings. KL Rahul (37 of 22), Mayank Agarwal (30 of 19), Yuvraj Singh (20 of 13) and Karun Nair (29 of 17) were all a major factor in KXIP reaching a steep total of 197 for 7. Australia’s Aaron Finch’s nightmare start to the tournament continued with a second consecutive duck.

Dhoni on the other hand, had just Ambati Rayudu who scored 49 runs for support during the second innings with no other batsman managing to cross 20.

The pick of the bowlers for Punjab was captain R Ashwin who picked up a wicket whilst conceding 32 runs off his 4 overs. Mujeeb Ur Rahman didn’t pick up a wicket but just conceded one run per ball in his 3 overs.

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