|Scorecard:||Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab|
|Player:||PA Patel, M Muralitharan, R Ashwin, SK Raina, MTT Mirando|
|Event:||Indian Premier League 2009|
DateLine: 20th May 2009
Kings XI Punjab would be left wondering what went wrong. With a target of a paltry 117 runs to get to make it to the semi-finals, they came in second best, going down by 24 runs to Chennai Super Kings and leaving their fate now in the hands of mathematics.
Punjab now have finished their league engagements, and are level at 14 points with Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore, who play on Thursday. All the losers of that game have to do is to end up with an average of more than minus 0.48, and that will make sure the Punjab pack their bags.
Punjab possibly were too busy looking at the semi-finals and completely forgot about the 117 runs they had to get, thanks to some brilliant showing by their bowlers.
But when it was the Chennai bowlers’ turn, they were absolutely outstanding, especially the spinners, and Punjab never got past Muttiah Muralitharan, who returned figures of 2/8, R Ashwin (2/13) and Suresh Raina (2/17).
None of the Punjab batsmen was even close to getting on top of the bowling, with the seamers, Thilan Thusara and L. Balaji also doing their bit. Luke Pomersbach managed 26 runs but the rest of the innings was a shambles, with Simon Katich, Yuvraj Singh, Kumar Sangakkara and the rest all falling in a heap.
The Chennai innings began the way Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have expected, with George Bailey, standing in for the injured Matthew Hayden, and Parthiv Patel got things going in the classic Chennai style. The two added 40 runs in less than five over before Yuvraj Singh found Bailey short of the crease and then Patel chopped Romesh Powar on to his stumps.
But even at that stage, Chennai were 54 in 6.5 overs, but the middle order didn’t really get to terms with Powar and remarkably, S. Sreesanth. Sreesanth has been one of the most expensive bowlers in the tournament and on Wednesday too he looked like he was going to be carted around, as Suresh Raina took a fancy to him.
But Sreesanth had one of his best days in South Africa, first forcing a miscue from S. Badrinath and then bowling his best delivery of the tournament, yorking Dhoni. Sreesanth’s celebration showed what that meant to him and the team.
Thereafter, there was precious little to offer, and once Raina departed, the likes of Jacob Oram and Manpreet Gony were way too erratic to make much of an impact as Punjab restricted the opposition to a very gettable total, opening a gate to the semi-finals.
The Punjab bowling has gone through the roof ever since Brett Lee returned to action. He bowled four over for just 16 runs, making sure that Chennai never got off the ground. Powar went for just 19 off four overs while Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan picked up two wickets each. Piyush Chawla and Wilkin Mota also chipped in usefully.