Chennai Super Kings played party-poppers once again as they ended Kings XI Punjab's hopes of reaching the IPL 2020 play-offs with a 9-wicket win at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. KL Rahul's men needed a win to give themselves a chance to complete a remarkable comeback and make it to the knockout stages but it was not meant to be as Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis gunned down a below-par target of 154 in just 18.5 overs.
With the win, Chennai Super Kings have finished their ordinary season with a spark towards the end, winning 3 on the trot. CSK also have given themselves a chance to avoid the wooden spoon as the loser of Sunday's 2nd match between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders might finish last on IPL 2020 points table.
Kings XI Punjab headed into the big tie on Sunday, facing a must-win situation after having made a dramatic turnaround, winning 5 of their last 6 matches. KXIP would have all but sealed a spot in the top 4 had they won against CSK but on the big day, Rahul's men came up with a disappointing performance.
Kings XI Punjab fall flat on big Sunday
After being sent into bat by MS Dhoni who won the toss, KL Rahul and comeback man Mayank Agarwal got back to what they do best -- provide KXIP with solid starts. The duo got 48 runs for the opening stand in just 5.2 overs but KXIP suffered a middle-order collapse after Lungi Ngidi got the big wicket of Mayank.
KL Rahul tried to keep the scoreboard moving but he fell to Ngidi, who picked up two crucial wickets to jolt the Kings XI Punjab batting unit.
KXIP lost Nicholas Pooran cheaply and Imran Tahir opened his account in CSK's final league match by picking up the big wicket of Chris Gayle.
Just when it looked like, KXIP would finish with less than 130-140, all-rounder Deepak Hooda came up with a fearles knock and struck 62 from just 30 balls to help the team post 153.
Another Ruturaj Gaikwad special
However, it was not enough as Ruturaj Gaikwad hit his third successive fifty of the tournament as CSK made light work of the target. Gaikwad and his senior partner Faf du Plessis took the game away from KXIP in the powerplay, adding an 82-run opening stand.
Despite losing Faf du Plessis, Gaikwad held his calm and stayed unbeaten on 62 to finish the game for CSK.
CSK might have not qualified for the play-offs but the 3-time champions have finished the season on a high. With MS Dhoni confirming he would return to play IPL in 2021, fans are looking forward to a better future.