Chennai Super Kings put Kings XI Punjab on the brink of elimination

After witnessing the ouster of the 2008 IPL champions in the hands of Kolkata, Kingsmead was ready to host another do-or-die encounter for Punjab against the Chennai Superkings. MS Dhoni won the toss for Chennai and opted to bat first. While Punjab had no changes in their eleven, Chennai replaced Jakati, Tyagi and Albie Morkel with Ashwin, Gony and Thushara.

With Hayden sitting out due to his injury, it was once again Parthiv Patel and George Bailey to open the proceedings for Chennai. While the pair were circumspect against Brett Lee, they took their chances against the likes of Irfan Pathan and Powar, taking Chennai to a steady start. Punjab turned the tables on Chennai by getting the top order in quick succession. Bailey was the first to depart when a throw from Yuvraj found the batsman short of the crease. His opening partner Parthiv Patel was the next man to go, bowled by Ramesh Powar after scoring 32 off 23 balls.

Kingsmead witnessed top order collapses earlier in the day with the batsmen failing to score for both Rajasthan and Punjab. The trend seemed to continue into the second match when Badrinath and MS Dhoni got out in quick succession, with a rejuvenated Sreesanth getting the better of the batsmen. In what could be termed as the ball of the tournament, Sreesanth emulating Waqar Younis, bowled a steaming yorker, castling the stumps of MS Dhoni. He went on to finish his spell with figures of 2/23.

Another wicket could have gone down for Chennai, but for a decision from the third umpire. Jacob Oram attempted a quick single and was found short of the crease. Luckily for him, the third umpire ruled the decision in his favour after replays suggested that Powar might have lost the ball during his attempt to break the stumps. When a furious Preity Zinta was fuming over the run-out decision going against Punjab, two more wickets went down for Chennai, bringing the smile back on the Punjab team owner's face. Mota and Chawla were the contributors for the smile, getting the wickets of Raina and Gony respectively. Punjab had more reasons to celebrate when Jacob Oram and Ashwin got out to Irfan Pathan in the 18th over, trying to go for quick runs.

The jinx of Chennai not having won a single match at Durban seemed to have hit them again when the batting failure saw Chennai end up with a score of 116/9 at the end of 20 overs.

Punjab started off the chase steadily, not wanting to give early wickets. However, MS Dhoni and co had other ideas, wanting to give Punjab a run for the money. They got a wicket early in the innings when Thushara dismissed Sohal. Not wanting to give away any freebies, Dhoni had his bowlers maintain a tight line. He employed Muralitharan early in the innings to make things tough for Punjab. His strategy paid off when the Sri Lankan Maestro got the key wickets of Simon Katich and Pomersbach and ended up with miserly figures of 2/8 off his 4 overs.

While Punjab thought that Yuvraj and Sangakkara would get the team out of trouble, they were proved wrong by Chennai. After the strangulation of runs, Chennai ran into the middle order of the Kings XI team. Raina was the first to break into the middle order dismissing Yuvraj Singh in the 13th over. Punjab's hopes rested on Sangakkara to pull off something special. But that was not to be as the Sri Lankan keeper was dismissed by Ashwin, who went on to take the wicket of Mota in the same over. The off spinning trio of Muralitharan, Ashwin and Raina caused enough damage from which the Punjab team could not recover.

They gave away just 38 runs off their combined 12 overs, most importantly picking up 6 wickets during that time. This eventually led to the Punjab team, losing the match by 24 runs.

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