By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
Abu Dhabi: Kings XI Punjab became the second team to bow out of the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The first team that went out of the thirteenth edition of IPL, Chennai Super Kings, signed off their campaign on a winning note when they outclassed KXIP by nine wickets.
In a must-win match for KXIP, the KL Rahul-led side failed to live up to the expectations of their supporters and crashed out of the league. KXIP were on the brink of elimination long back. From just two points from seven games, they fought back with five successive victories but the journey was finally over.
It was the second humiliating defeat for KXIP against last year’s runners-up team. Earlier on October 4 at Dubai, CSK had crushed KXIP by 10 wickets on the back of unbeaten 80-plus scores from openers Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson. On Sunday, du Plessis continued his fabulous run against KXIP as the experienced opener slammed 48 off 34 deliveries with the help of four boundaries and a couple of sixes to provide a solid foundation.
However, the hero of the day was Ruturaj Gaikwad once again. The young opener created a unique record by hitting three consecutive half-centuries and bagging his third successive man-of-the-match awards. In pursuit of a 154-run target, the 23-year-old Gaikwad and du Plessis stitched together an 82-run partnership for the first wicket. Gaikwas was the top-scorer as he remained unbeaten on 62 which came off 49 balls and laced with six boundaries and a six.
After the departure of du Plessis, Gaikwad, who plays Ranji Trophy for Maharashtra, guided the team through in the company of Ambati Rayudu, who contributed 30 not out. The only wicket to fall was taken by Chris Jordan.
Earlier, CSk skipper MS Dhoni called correctly and invited KXIP to bat first. Deepak Hooda’s unbeaten 62 off 39 balls helped KXIP to post a competitive total of 153 for 6 on the board. KXIP went through a batting collapse despite having a brisk start by KL Rahul (29) and Mayank Agarwal (26). Both the reliable openers of Punjab had flying starts but could not capitalise on them.
Lungi Ngidi was among the wickets as he returned with the impressive figures of 3 for 39. The tall speedster removed both the openers and then got rid of James Neesham (2) too. Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja picked up a wicket apiece.
Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab 153 for 6 in 20 overs (Deepak Hooda 62 not out, KL Rahul 29, Mayank Agarwal 26, Mandeep Singh 14, Chris Gayle 12; Lungi Ngidi 3-39, Ravindra Jadeja 1-17, Imran Tahir 1-24, Shardul Thakur 1-27) lost to Chennai Super Kings 154 for 1 in 18.5 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 62 not out, Faf du Plessis 48, Ambati Rayudu 30 not out; Chris Jordan 1-31) by nine wickets. Man-of-the-match: Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK).