Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis ensured that Chennai Super Kings scrapped their losing streak in the 13th season of the Indian Premier League on Sunday. CSK had lost their last 3 matches and were heading on a downward slope. But Watson and du Plessis rose to the occasion against Kings XI Punjab and secured a 10-wicket victory for CSK.
CSK were chasing a stiff target of 179 runs at the Dubai International Stadium with Watson and du Plessis coming out to start their run-chase. Both the batsmen then conjured up commanding unbeaten half-centuries as CSK demolished KXIP by 10 wickets. Watson scored 83 runs while du Plessis hit 87 as CSK rose up to sixth in the IPL points table.
During the run-chase, Watson and du Plessis etched their name into the list of the top 5 opening stands in the IPL. It was the fourth-best opening stand in IPL history with 181 runs. The list is headed by Jonny Bairstow and David Warner, who scored 185 runs during the 2019 IPL season. It was also the best partnership stand for CSK in the IPL.
The seasoned Australian punished the KXIP bowlers with 11 fours and three sixes in his 53-ball unbeaten knock while Du Plessis hit 11 fours and a six from 53 balls to also remain not out.
Except Mohammed Shami, KXIP did not have a bowler who could trouble the opposition batsmen and CSK exploited it to the fullest. CSK moved to sixth spot from bottom with this confidence-boosting win.
Skipper KL Rahul had hit a well-paced 63 to lead Kings XI Punjab to a competitive 178 for four after electing to bat but in the absence of good bowlers it was an onerous task to stop the experienced CSK brigade.
Rahul’s risk-free 63 came off 52 balls with the help of seven fours and a six as he shared a 61-run stand with fellow opener Mayank Agarwal (26) and then raised a 58-run partnership with Nicholas Pooran (33 off 17).KXIP looked set for a bigger total but both Pooran and Rahul were dismissed by pacer Shardul Thakur off successive balls in the 18th over.CSK, like their rivals, also got to a solid start with openers — Du Plessis and Watson — creaming off 60 runs in the Powerplay overs.They did not exactly set the field on fire but an effective strokeplay helped them begin the chase in right earnest.
The Australian-Protea duo blended caution with aggression, picking the right deliveries to attack. They raised the team hundred in the 10th over.Watson got to his fifty with consecutive boundaries off Chris Jordan while Du Plessis raised his own with a single off the same bowler.With Nothing working for KXIP, Watson and Du Plessis only became more dominant as the game progressed.
(with PTI inputs)