Chennai Super Kings’ Deepak Chahar celebrates after taking the wicket of Punjab Kings’ Mayank Agarwal during their IPL match on Friday. Courtesy: IPL website
Seamer Deepak Chahar’s four-wicket haul, in which he removed four of the top five Punjab Kings batsmen, powered Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to a thumping six-wicket win -- their first in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL) -- here on Friday.
The win could not have come at a better time, as it was skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 200th match for CSK.
The right-arm pacer’s spell restricted Punjab to 106/8 in 20 overs, a poor score on a Wankhede pitch known to be good for batting.
Chahar (4/13 from four overs) removed Mayank Agarwal (0), Chris Gayle (10), Deepak Hooda (10) and Nicholas Pooran (0) to leave Punjab tottering at 26/5 after 6.2 overs. Skipper K.L. Rahul (5) was dismissed run out.
While Agarwal was bowled by one that moved away a bit and hit the stumps, Gayle couldn’t handle the knuckle ball and scooped it to cover where Ravindra Jadeja took a diving catch.
Chahar then got rid of Pooran, who pulled a short delivery straight to deep square-leg, before forcing Deepak Hooda to chip one to mid-off.
From there, it was always going to be an uphill task for Punjab.
Only Shahrukh Khan could offer some resistance and played some cracking shots, including a rasping pull off Shardul Thakur. The No. 6 batsman, who had walked in after the dismissal of Pooran in the fifth over, scored 47 off 36 balls (4x4, 6x2) and stayed at the crease till the end, but found very little support from the other end. Jhye Richardson made 15 off 22 and added 31 for the sixth wicket with Shahrukh.
The target was easy for CSK and they were not challenged at all. CSK lost Ruturaj Gaikwad early, for five, but a 66-run second wicket stand between Moeen Ali (46 off 31 balls, 4x7, 6x1) and Faf du Plessis (36 n.o. off 31 balls, 4x3, 6x1) took CSK within 16 runs of the target.
There was a little bit of drama towards the end with Punjab picking up three quick wickets. Moeen Ali tried to reach his fifty with a big shot but was caught in the deep off Ravichandran Ashwin, while Mohammed Shami accounted for former India internationals Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu, both trying to play expansive shots only to get caught in the deep in the process.
However, du Plessis and Sam Curran saw CSK home without any further hiccups, with 4.2 overs and six wickets to spare.
Victory makes Dhoni’s 200th match for CSK special: Meanwhile, Dhoni’s 200th match for Chennai turned out to be special as his team put in a commanding performance to thump Punjab Kings by six wickets on Friday night at the Wankhede Stadium.
“[It] Makes me feel very good. It has been a very long journey. It started in 2008 -- played in South Africa, UAE, and back home. Never thought Mumbai would be our home,” said Dhoni after leading his team to their first win of the 2021 season.
Dhoni has led CSK to three IPL title (2010, 2011 and 2018).
The game against the Punjab franchise on Friday was the former India captain’s 176th match for CSK in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He has also played 24 matches for CSK in the now-defunct Champions League T20 tournament.
Dhoni a;sp offered a brief lesson on how to use Decision Review System (DRS) that might come in handy for those struggling to use it well like the current Indian team.
Dhoni, who has been known to be spot on with DRS, opted to not take a review against Punjab Kings batsman Shahrukh after he was hit on the pads by a Chahar delivery on the very first ball he faced. The umpire had ruled him not out and it seemed from the replays that Dhoni’s decision to not take a review was right.
“I thought that [lbw call] was high. So told him (Chahar) ‘no we are not reviewing’. I have always felt DRS is there to take the howlers away and not just to take a chance. You only take a chance if it’s the last over of the game or it’s someone very important,” said Dhoni after the match while explaining how he has approached DRS.
Dhoni also played 30 IPL matches for Pune Supergiant during 2016 and 2017 when the CSK franchise was banned following the spot-fixing scandal. Dhoni, who has 4632 runs in IPL, has scored 4058 runs for CSK.
He is eighth in the list of run-getters in IPL and is the most successful wicket-keeper in the league with 148 dismissals.
While his team had a disappointing outing the last time, finishing seventh in the table, he is hoping to lead the team to the play-offs this time. He is the most successful captain in IPL history, captaining his teams (CSK and Rising Pune Supergiant) to 111 wins.