Kings XI Punjab pulled off a stunning seven-run win over defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here Saturday.
Taking first strike, Kings XI failed to build on a solid start that their openers Mandeep Singh (56, 50b, 5x4, 1x6) and Shaun Marsh (32, 24b, 4x4, 1x6) provided and caved in rather meekly to be pegged to 156 for eight with seamers Albie Morkel (3 for 29) and Dwanye Bravo (2 for 28) doing bulk of the damage.
In reply, the Super Kings also failed to build on a rollicking start and lost wickets under pressure as the Kings XI bowlers Azhar Mahmood (3 for 25) and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (2 for 20) restricted the hosts to 149 for eight.
It was fourth win for Kings XI who remain in seventh spot with eight points while the Super Kings, who are third, suffered their fourth defeat in nine outings and are on nine. The Super Kings were off to a flier as openers Francois du Plessis (29 off 20 balls) and Subramaniam Badrinath (25 off 18) put on 56 runs by the fifth over, but the introduction of Mahmood turned the game on its head as he removed the pair.
Both du Plessis and Badrinath were deceived by slower deliveries in consecutive overs and thereafter, the Super Kings lost three more wickets in quick time with Suresh Raina (15), Wriddhiman Saha (7) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (1) departing as the hosts slid to 88 for five in the 14th over.
More drama was to follow in the next over bowled by Chawla as Dwayne Bravo (1) was dropped by Shaun Marsh, but two balls later, Ravindra Jadeja (17) was caught by David Hussey after mistiming a big hit.
Thereafter, Bravo and Morkel added 36 runs for the seventh wicket before the West Indian all-rounder was caught in the deep in the 19th over. At that stage, the Super Kings needed 21 off eight deliveries.
Morkel departed in the last over bowled by Mahmood, holing out in the deep. New man Ravichandran Ashwin reverse hit a boundary, but a single off the next effectively ended the Super Kings' challenge as they needed 11 off two, a target that proved beyond them.
Earlier, Marsh's freak run out while backing up undid all the good work that the Aussie opener had done in the company of Mandeep Singh as the pair had put on 68 runs in eight overs. Mandeep's hard drive down the pitch struck Ashwin on the foot and deflected on to the stumps with Marsh caught outside the crease to be run out.
Until then, nothing went right for the Super Kings whose bowlers leaked runs at a steady clip while the Kings XI openers batted quite sensibly. However, Marsh's exit turned the tide in the home team's favour as the rest of the Kings XI batsmen did anything but dominate the bowlers who chipped away steadily by taking wickets at regular intervals.
A bad over by Ravindra Jadeja who went for 17 runs in the only over he bowled, was of little consolation for Punjab in the end as Morkel and Bravo picked up wickets to restrict the visitors to 156.