MUMBAI: Punjab Kings on Monday edged Chennai Super Kings by 11 runs in match 38 of the Indian Premier League 2022 to register their 4th win – out of 8 matches – of the tournament.
Punjab were asked to bat by Chennai and their openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal – lent a solid start to the team as they added 37 runs for the first wicket. Dhawan looked to take the attack to the bowlers, while Mayank was more watchful before he was dismissed by off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana for 18.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa once again showed intent and provided fine support to Dhawan who was going berserk. Rajapaksa got a life when Mitchell Santner dropped him at deep mid-wicket off Ravindra Jadeja in the 9th over.
In the 14th over, Dhawan whipped Dwaine Pretorius behind square leg for a boundary to rack up his 46th IPL fifty. In the process, he also became the second Indian batsman to score more than 6,000 runs in the IPL. The left-hander also reached the milestone of 9000 T20 runs during his dazzling innings.
After Rajapaksa was dismissed in the 18th over, Liam Livingstone unfurled a brisk cameo of 19 runs off just 7 balls.
In 20 overs, Punjab scored 187-4 with Dhawan remaining unbeaten on 88 off just 59 balls.
Chasing 188, Chennai got off to a dreadful start as they lost Robin Uthappa, Santner and Shivam Dube cheaply and were tottering at 40-3 in 7 overs. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ambati Rayudu produced a 49-run stand for the fourth wicket to steady the innings before Gaikwad was removed by the pacer Kagiso Rabada in the 13th over.
Rayudu was the only Chennai batsman who looked in sparkling touch and unleashed a string of scorching shots to keep Chennai in the hunt. In the 16th over of the innings, he smote medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma for three sixes on the trot and amassed 23 runs from the over. He was ultimately undone by a cracking yorker by Rabada for 78.
Chennai needed 27 runs from the last over and MS Dhoni raised hopes by smacking the first ball for a six. However, Rishi Dhawan held his nerve and got him out on the 3rd ball. In the end, Chennai could only manage 176-6 in 20 overs and lost the match by 11 runs.
Dhawan, who was adjudged Man of the Match, said, “I always focus on the process. Results will take care of itself. The wicket was stopping a bit, I tried to go for the big shots, but I couldn’t connect. But I kept my calm. Once I get set, I can get those boundaries, that’s what I bank on. While batting first it’s about putting pressure on the bowlers and getting boundaries. We don’t have to lose too many wickets, that was our conscious effort.”
“I have become a senior in the team (laughs). I give a lot of input to the players. The youngsters think a lot, sometimes they overthink, so I try to communicate with them. I talk about the law of attraction and how to achieve big in life,” he added.