Chennai Super Kings on Sunday ended their IPL campaign on a winning note by defeating Kings XI Punjab by nine wickets. Meanwhile, CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has firmly denied speculations that he had played his last game for the team from Chennai.
Batting first, Kings XI Punjab made 153-6 in 20 overs with Deepak Hooda making 62 in 30 balls. Rest of the KXIP batsmen including the tournament’s highest run-getter, KL Rahul, failed to replicate his earlier heroics.
Lungi Ngidi was the most effective bowler for Chennai Super Kings as he claimed three wickets in four overs.
Chennai Super Kings never looked in trouble in their run-chase. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis added 82 runs for the opening wicket in 9.5 overs. Even after du Pressis’ departure, the CSK batsmen continued to score freely and achieved the target with balls to spare. Gaikwad remained unbeaten at 62 in 49 balls. Ambati Rayudu was NOT OUT at 29 in 29 balls.
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Before the start of the match, Danny Morrison asked Dhoni if this was going to be his last match in yellow, the colour of the CSK jersey. To which Dhoni firmly replied, “Definitely not.”
Reacting to his side’s defeat, KL Rahul said, “It is as simple as that. We didn’t bat really well. Big pressure game, we expected 180-190. We couldn’t soak in the pressure. We didn’t have the results going our way in the first half. The team still felt like we were playing good cricket. We were patchy. The bowling and batting wasn’t coming together in the first half, proud that we did it in the second half. Lots to be proud of as a team. a lot of “could have been”. It is disappointing. We had a lot of games in our pockets and we couldn’t get over the line and we only have ourselves to blame. That short run game too, looks like it has come back to bite us.”
Dhoni said, “It was a difficult campaign. We committed a lot of errors. The last four games were a template of where we would like to be. Proud of the guys because if you’re lagging behind for 7-8 games, it becomes really difficult. It’s not easy, you won’t want to be in a dressing room that’s not enjoying cricket. Proud of them. A lot depends on what BCCI decides about the auction. We need to slightly change our core group and looks for the next ten years. At the start of the IPL we made a team that served us well for ten years. It’s time to hand it over to the next generation [paraphrased]. Message to the fans – we’ll come back strong. That’s what we’re known for. We are eighth in the table but 14 points and we could have qualified. This is a season where only one team played well (Mumbai) or most teams played well. [The jerseys] maybe they thought I’m retiring! Whenever we have seen Rutu bat, he’s somebody who has done well in net sessions. But we were not able to see him in games. Then he got Covid, and even after 20 days he was not fit. He didn’t get time for us to gauge. That was one of the main reasons we kept going with Faf and Watson. It didn’t work. But that’s the point where you go with the experienced players.”
Chennai Super Kings finished their IPL campaign with 12 points in 14 matches. They needed two more points to stay in contention for the playoff stage. Kings XI Punjab too have been knocked out of the competition with 12 points in 14 matches.
Gaikwad was declared Man Of The Match.