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IPL 2022: Punjab Kings hold their nerve in death overs to beat Dhoni, CSK

Rishi’s final over, aided by Rabada and Arshdeep in the final phase of the innings, and Shikhar’s bat, helped PK defeat CSK.
Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten 88 lifted Punjab Kings to 187 for 4 in a near-repeat of Sunday’s game at Wankhede Stadium. Ambati Rayudu’s 78 off 39 bowled a misfiring chase back on track, but Kagiso Rabada returned him with two overs remaining, and MS Dhoni was unable to replicate his last-over heroics from the previous game against Mumbai Indians.

Monday immediately follows Sunday

The match was played on the same side pitch as the previous day’s match between Lucknow Super Giants and Mumbai Indians. And, at the halfway point of the first innings, both LSG and PK were on the same score – 72 for one.

Stroke formation proved to be challenging once again, particularly at the start, on an already sticky surface that had been used on consecutive nights. Even the field placements were identical; deep point and deep square leg served as the powerplay’s two deep fielders, with third man and fine leg in the ring. With CSK’s three spinners in action in favourable conditions, it appeared for a time as though they were operating out of Chepauk. However, PK would go on to bowl 115 off the final ten overs, compared to LSG’s 96.

One of the key differences was CSK’s decision to drop Bhanuka Rajapaksa in consecutive overs from Ravindra Jadeja immediately following the powerplay. On either side of the longer square leg-side boundary, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mitchell Santner were the perpetrators. Rajapaksa scored 42 points off 32 attempts, aided by misfields and poor deliveries in addition to the dropped balls. He added 110 runs for the second wicket with Dhawan in 11.3 overs.

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Rajapaksa departed probably an over or two later than PK desired, delaying Liam Livingstone’s arrival until the 18th over. However, it meant that the English all-rounder entered the match with a clear mind and did not have to consider batting longer in difficult conditions. Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow combined for 25 runs off ten balls, assisting PK in scoring 19 more runs than LSG.

Dhawan takes it to the next level

Continuing the theme from Sunday night, Dhawan batted through the first innings similarly to KL Rahul, but with less late acceleration, scoring 88 off 59 balls. Rahul had taken on the longer square rope and used deft placement to defeat the boundary riders. Dhawan, on the other hand, made excellent use of the shorter side. He ensured that the offerings on the pads vanished beyond the short fine leg. Additionally, he slogged a couple of sixes over the shallow-midwicket boundary.

Dhawan is not the tallest actor, but his manoeuvring and arching enable him to have a respectable reach. When the longer boundary to his stronger off-side was in play, he ensured that CSK’s beneficial overpitched offerings were lofted over mid-off or driven past him for fours. Dhawan ignited the PK with three fours in Mukesh Choudhary’s 12th over, the left-arm seamer’s natural incoming angle allowing Dhawan to line him up.

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The parallels to Sunday night were endless. CSK’s chase, like Mumbai Indians’, was imploding, with both top orders failing to get going. And, while Tilak Varma had previously threatened a MI revival, Ambati Rayudu took it a step further by bringing CSK close. Rayudu had injured his left forearm at cover while attempting to field a drive off Mayank Agarwal’s third ball of the game, and had spent the remainder of the innings off the field.

After seven overs, he walked in at 40 for 3 and smacked his second ball from Rahul Chahar to the extra-cover boundary. Rayudu was ready with the forcing cut, the massive slog-sweep, and the charge-and-swish whenever the asking rate appeared to be out of control.

A 23-run sixteenth over from Sandeep Sharma, who was playing in his first match in nearly a month, restored the equation to around two runs per ball. Rayudu swiped and slashed three consecutive sixes and then dashed to hammer a four over midwicket. There did not appear to be much dew, as there was little ball-wiping by the PK fielders, but Sandeep continued to deliver high full tosses. And, regardless of the length of the boundary, Rayudu was not missing out.

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However, just as Rayudu’s momentum appeared to be carrying CSK home, Kagiso Rabada intervened, landing one around the blockhole and dismissing Rayudu.

Dhoni arrived with 35 required off 13 balls and, similar to Jaydev Unadkat in CSK’s previous match, he had another left-armer on his mind – Arshdeep Singh, who bowled the 19th over. However, the young seamer maintained a straight and wide angle across Dhoni to the longer boundary. Dhoni snatched one past extra cover, but Agarwal had already prevented one, and Arshdeep dismissed Dhoni off two additional deliveries.

CSK required an improbable 27 off the final over due to Ravindra Jadeja’s inability to find the boundary. And in his first IPL match in six years, Rishi Dhawan was more than capable of leading his team to a comfortable victory.

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