Once Brendon McCullum gets going, he not only becomes a huge obstacle for bowlers on the opposite side, his prolonged stay at the crease will most likely take his side to victory, whether it is setting targets or chasing them. His cavalier approach on Saturday, when Chennai opted to bat after winning the toss against Kings XI Punjab, was enough to dampen the spirits of KXIP bowlers and fielders. With every CSK batsman coming up with useful knocks around McCullum’s 44-ball 66 with 8 fours and 3 sixes, the total reached a commanding 192. Afterwards, Poor batting performance from Punjab batsmen minus Glenn Maxwell dragged them to a paltry 95/9 at the end of 20 overs and Chennai romped home with an easiest of victories this season.
MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to cash on his batting firepower against the Kings Eleven Punjab. These teams had played three times against each other in the 2014 season and every time KXIP had made more than 200 to beat Super Kings. But last year KXIP rode on the superlative batting from Maxwell, who is yet to take off in IPL 2015. Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith have been doing great this season and on Saturday, they came good yet again. McCullum has a fixed game and so has Dwayne Smith. They refuse to get cowed down against the best of the bowling attacks. KXIP began with leg-spinner Karanveer Singh and Smith sent his first ball crashing into the covers. That outlined CSK’s intentions and with the big New Zealander firing from the other side, CSK went on a roller-caster ride. The 50 came in 4.4 overs, and one over out of these, bowled by Karanveer was blasted for 22 by Smith, while McCullum swung his bat to smack Sandeep Sharma. Smith was the first batsman to go at 50, after playing 13 balls for his 26 runs that included 3 fours and 2 sixes. But McCullum carried on with back-in-form Suresh Raina and the two batsmen produced 66 for the second wicket before McCullum departed in the 13th over. Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja all played useful knocks and CSK finished with 192/3 after 20 overs.
With their generally bad show with the bat this IPL season, KXIP were least expected to overhaul the target set for them by CSK. The most talked about Punjab batsman, Glenn Maxwell had not been included for this match and therefore, there was no one in KXIP’s ranks to match the abilities of McCullum and Smith. Virender Sehwag fell in the first over from Ishwar Pandey and Murali Vijay and Shaun Marsh couldn’t match the required scoring rate, despite hanging around for a while. Big-scoring George Bailey and David Miller fell very cheaply and KXIP tottered at 69/7 in the 13th over as spinners Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin bound them with a rope. In one of IPL’s most pathetic performances, KXIP could only reach 95/9 in 20 overs to yield a 97-run victory to CSK.
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