Dharamsala: Kings XI Punjab severely dented the chances of Chennai Super Kings qualify for the play-offs and kept them in the reckoning with a convincing 6-wicket win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the picturesque HPCA Stadium on Thursday.
Captain Adam Gilchrist, making a comeback to the Kings XI set-up after a constrain injury kept him out of 9 matches, scored an unbeaten 64 of 46 balls to carry his team past the 121-run target set by Chennai. Thus, Kings XI (16 points) moved into the 5th position behind Chennai (17). Punjab has to play table-toppers Delhi Daredevils while Chennai have completed all their 16 games. 2 wickets each by Praveen Kumar, Azhar Mahmood and Parvinder Awana helped Kings XI restrict Super Kings to a paltry total of 120 for 7 and gain 2 crucial points.
Mandeep Singh (24) and Gilchrist gave their team a lively start, scoring 51 in 6 overs, before the Indian youngster got castled by Albie Morkel. In the absence of Shaun Marsh, Punjab's batting line-up looked thin in star power. Nitin Saini (1) and David Hussey (9) put their team in a spot of bother by getting out in speedy succession.Gilchrist, however, held his end up, hitting out forcefully. He exploded towards the end, scoring 22 runs of Yo Mahesh's 15th over and that sealed the succeed for Punjab.
Put in on a pitch with a greenish tinge, defensive champions Chennai lost Murali Vijay (10) and Michael Hussey (7) without much on the board. Suresh Raina, who is the only player yet to miss a match in the IPL, smacks Mahmood for 2 sixes. However, he fell caught behind in the same over while slash at a wide ball. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who promotes himself up the order, again played a dreary innings scoring six off 16 balls.
West Indian Dwayne Bravo came to the let go of Super Kings when his team was reeling at 46 for four in the 11th over. He played a watchful innings of 48 off 43 balls, stringing small partnerships with Ravindra Jadeja (13) and Morkel (14) as Chennai stutter to a below par score.
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