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IPL 2019: Dhoni, Harbhajan, du Plessis star as CSK overcome KXIP challenge at Chepauk

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Chennai Super Kings withstood two solid innings from KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan to defeat Kings XI Punjab by 22 runs in Chennai on Saturday. CSK, the defending champions, have now won 4 out of their 5 matches in the 2019 Indian Premier League. | CSK vs KXIP – Match Highlights |

Kings XI Punjab got off to a disastrous start to their chase. Harbhajan Singh, who did not play CSK’s against Mumbai Indians, returned to the team and dismissed Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal in his first over.

KXIP were reeling at 7 for 2 off 2 overs but KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan kept their calm under pressure to build a strong partnership. The two were brilliant against spin – CSK had 3 high-quality spinners in Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja. But Rahul and Sarfaraz were sure-footed, pierced the gaps with precision and ran hard to keep KXIP on track.

Sarfaraz Khan’s maiden IPL fifty in vain

Courtesy by BCCI

Sarfaraz Khan, playing his 30th IPL match, brought up his maiden fifty. He had first played the Indian Premier League in 2015 for Royal Challengers Bangalore but failed to make much of an impression there. For KXIP, Sarfaraz looked in command against the Super Kings and showed he was determined to make his mark in a strong batting line-up.

KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan brought up their 100-run stand in the 16th over but they needed a move-on as the asking rate climbed sharply. Rahul hit his second fifty of the season but he still had a lot of work to do.

KXIP needed 46 runs off the last 3 overs and KL Rahul had no choice but to take on Scott Kuggeleijn who deceived him with a slower ball. Rahul mistimed the shot as Ravindra Jadeja completed an easy catch running in from deep midwicket.

Kings XI Punjab were able to score only 24 runs from overs 13 to 17 despite having two set batsmen in the middle. That meant there was a lot of pressure on the batsmen coming in next as the asking rate kept climbing steadily. David Miller got off the mark with a boundary but the onus was still firmly on Sarfaraz Khan to lead the final assault.

We never really got going towards the end.

Hope to bounce back stronger in the next match. #SaddaPunjab #CSKvKXIP #KXIP #VIVOIPL pic.twitter.com/j3ZkV1HLYl

Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) April 6, 2019

Deepak Chahar was tasked with bowling the penultimate over and he started off on a poor note. He bowled two successive no-balls (height) but he finished well when he castled David Miller. KXIP needed 26 off the final over.

Earlier in the afternoon, Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat. Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis gave the defending champions a strong start. The pair added 56 for the opening wicket before Watson fell to R Ashwin in the 8th over.

Faf du Plessis, who had replaced Dwayne Bravo, was playing his first match of the season and he looked in great touch. Suresh Raina struggled at the other end but du Plessis played some scintillating shots to bring up his fifty.

Chennai Super Kings looked like in total control before Ashwin came on for his final over and removed du Plessis and Suresh Raina off successive balls. Ambati Rayudu survived the hat-trick ball and with MS Dhoni took the Super Kings to a strong total.

MS Dhoni was in great form for CSK last summer and he has looked dangerous this season too. Both men took their time to get going but Dhoni exploded later in the innings with a six off Sam Curran. Dhoni was unstoppable from thereon and finished with an unbeaten 37 off 23 balls.

Ambati Rayudu, meanwhile, hit 1 four and 1 six to remain 21 not out off 15 balls.

Also Read | CSK vs KXIP, IPL 2019: Umpire talks to MS Dhoni after Ambati Rayudu backs up too far

Also Read | MS Dhoni plays 150th IPL match for Chennai Super Kings, 50th in Chepauk

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