IPL: CSK spinners defend 160 to reclaim top spot

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Chennai Super Kings’ trio of experienced spinners excelled as they defended a total of 160-3 against Kings XI Punjab to reclaim top spot in the Indian Premier League.

KL Rahul (55) and Sarfaraz Khan (67) each compiled fifties for the Kings XI after they had been rocked by a double-wicket-maiden from Harbhajan Singh in the second over of their chase.

However, the two set batsmen were unable to score quickly enough against Harbhajan (2-17 off four overs), Imran Tahir (0-20 off 4) and Ravindra Jadeja (0-24 off 4), meaning the visitors to the MA Chidambaram Stadium were left with too much to do at the death.

The Kings XI ultimately finished well short on 138-5 and lost by 22 runs.

Chennai’s score owed much to opener Faf du Plessis striking 54 from 38 balls and late acceleration from in-form skipper MS Dhoni, who finished unbeaten on 37 from 23.

Dhoni teamed up with Ambati Rayudu to add 44 in the final three overs of the Super Kings’ innings and those runs proved crucial as the Kings XI failed to find similar impetus in reply.

CHAHAR GOES FROM THE RIDICULOUS TO THE SUBLIME

The Kings XI required an unlikely 39 runs from the final two overs, but their hopes were briefly raised as Deepak Chahar endured a nightmare start to his final set of six.

Two successive high full-tosses were called as no-balls and hit for four and two respectively, nudging the Kings XI eight runs closer to their target without a legal delivery being bowled.

Yet Chahar then went from one extreme to the other, suddenly finding his length with two brilliant yorkers and giving up just five in the remainder of the over, which ended with David Miller being clean bowled.

Debutant Scott Kuggeleijn was left with 26 to defend in the final over and he conceded only three while picking up the wicket of Sarfaraz.

DHONI BRILLIANCE GOES UNREWARDED

Former India captain Dhoni may be 37, but he looked as sharp as ever as he produced a wonderful piece of skill that went unrewarded.

Dhoni looked to have done enough to run out Rahul on 41 when he flicked the ball out of the back of his hand and hit the stumps with the batsman out of his ground.

However, the bails somehow remained unmoved and Rahul survived. Thankfully for the Super Kings, it did not prove a pivotal moment. (Sportsmax)

 

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