In the 53rd match of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, Kings XI Punjab faced Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi where MS Dhoni and Co. won the match by nine wickets.
Earlier in the match, Chennai Super Kings won the toss and elected to bowl first. Batting first, Punjab posted 153 runs for 6 on the scoreboard.
Chasing 154, Chennai Super Kings achieved the target with ease in just 18.5 overs, losing one wicket, thanks to a brilliant half-century knock by Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Following this defeat, KL Rahul led Kings XI Punjab got eliminated from the tournament.
Chasing the target, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis opened the innings for CSK. Both batsmen added 57 runs in 6 overs of the powerplay to give the team a solid start. Chris Jordan gave Chennai the first blow in the form of Faf du Plessis. He was caught by KL Rahul for 48. Ruturaj Gaikwad then led the team to a stunning 9-wicket victory by playing an unbeaten inning of 62 off 49 balls. Ambati Rayudu played an unbeaten inning of 30 off 30 balls.
Winning Skipper, MS Dhoni’s Reaction:
“It was a difficult campaign. We committed a lot of errors. The last four games were a template of where we would like to be. Proud of the guys because if you’re lagging behind for 7-8 games, it becomes really difficult. It’s not easy, you won’t want to be in a dressing room that’s not enjoying cricket. Proud of them. A lot depends on what BCCI decides about the auction. We need to slightly change our core group and looks for the next ten years. At the start of the IPL, we made a team that served us well for ten years. It’s time to hand it over to the next generation [paraphrased]. Message to the fans – we’ll come back strong. That’s what we’re known for. We are eighth in the table but 14 points and we could have qualified. This is a season where only one team played well (Mumbai) or most teams played well. [The jerseys] maybe they thought I’m retiring! Whenever we have seen Rutu bat, he’s somebody who has done well in net sessions. But we were not able to see him in games. Then he got Covid, and even after 20 days he was not fit. He didn’t get time for us to gauge. That was one of the main reasons we kept going with Faf and Watson. It didn’t work. But that’s the point where you go with the experienced players.”
Losing Skipper, KL Rahul’s Reaction:
“It is as simple as that. We didn’t bat really well. Big pressure game, we expected 180-190. We couldn’t soak in the pressure. We didn’t have the results going our way in the first half. The team still felt like we were playing good cricket. We were patchy. The bowling and batting weren’t coming together in the first half, proud that we did it in the second half. Lots to be proud of as a team. a lot of “could have been”. It is disappointing. We had a lot of games in our pockets and we couldn’t get over the line and we only have ourselves to blame. That short run game too looks like it has come back to bite us.”
Player of the Match, Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Reaction:
“I was scoring well in the domestic circuit in every format, so I was feeling confident. Even for my club and state team, I had to be the anchor, make sure the team wins and I stay till the end. At times, I also need to be aggressive. One of my favourite – inside-out (shot). Not to be part of the squad which was practising initially, to miss the first few games, it was difficult for me. But the management and every teammate made sure that I was positive. An important part of the squad and it did help a lot. Being in the change room and being in the field – I was used to it. One or two games, it was surreal (playing with the star players). Even yesterday I saying to Rayudu – ‘it’s the first time I am batting with you, you are my hero,’ and he was happy for that.”