Chennai Super Kings (CSK) roared back in style in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 as they demolished Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by 10 wickets in Dubai. MS Dhoni’s men had lost three games in a row after a win in IPL 2020 opener against Mumbai Indians last month, a first instance of CSK losing as many straight games since 2014.
However, the three-time champions didn’t resemble the slow-running train from their last three games and raced away to their target of 179 in just 17.4 overs. Two of their senior statesmen, Shane Watson (83 not out) and Faf du Plessis (87 not out) led the way as they put together unbroken opening stand.
Watson had been particularly under pressure after scores of 1, 14, 33 and 4 so far in the tournament but he took initiative on Sunday evening by taking his time during the Powerplay, even as du Plessis rolled along at the other end, and then bringing out his full range of strokes when the fielding restrictions eased.
Du Plessis took Chris Jordan for four fours in the sixth over as CSK finished the Powerplay 60/0 and in command.
KXIP skipper KL Rahul tried all his options with pace and spin but could break the stand between the two Super Kings as CSK raced to 101/0 in 10 overs.
Watson hit Jordan for consecutive fours, smothered Ravi Bishnoi and hit Sheldon Cottrell for a straight six as he brought up his first 50 in IPL 2020 off just 31 balls.
Du Plessis got his fifty off 33 balls as CSK were left with only 29 to get in the last five overs.
The South African waltzed to the target at the end, getting there with a four and a six off Mohammed Shami in the 18th over.
Earlier, KXIP won the toss and chose to bat. Rahul led from the front with a half-century – he made 63 off 52 balls.
Mayank Agarwal (26 off 19), Mandeep Singh (27 off 16) and Nicholas Pooran (33 off 17) gave their captain good support in the middle as Punjab finished with a competitive 178/4.
Shardul Thakur took 2/39 for CSK while Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla returned with one wicket each.