IPL 2021: Chennai Super Kings overpower Punjab Kings; Deepak Chahar steals show
Can Chennai Super Kings bring back their days of yore which saw them clinch three IPL titles under Mahendra Singh Dhoni? That was the question on everyone’s mind ahead of IPL 2021.
If the preceding season could be treated as an aberration, CSK will certainly reap the rewards of meticulous planning and hard work put in by the players and support staff this time. On Friday, they bowled with discipline, fielded brilliantly and did not mess things up during the chase to pull off a six-wicket victory with 26 balls to spare.
Their first victory in the 14th edition of the tournament came in their second match which also turned out to be Dhoni’s 200th for the franchise. A target of 107 was never threatening by any standards but Faf du Plessis (36 not out off 33 balls) and Moeen Ali (46 off 31 balls) showed composure in providing a definite direction to their run chase. Sam Curran finally sealed it off with a pulled boundary off Riley Meredith.
There was no looking back for CSK after Deepak Chahar’s dream spell — 4-1-13-4 — literally squashed Punjab Kings’ hopes of staging a comeback.
Given the dew factor at the Wankhede, it was only logical that CSK would decide to field once Dhoni won the toss. And the expected rewards came.
The credit for restricting Punjab Kings to 106 for eight will go to Chahar and Ravindra Jadeja. While the pacer pierced through the top-order showing superb control and movement, including his famed knuckle ball, Jadeja’s electrifying presence on the field resulted in a run out and two superb catches.
Wanting to make use of the bounce and carry in the wicket, Dhoni started with two slips in Chahar’s opening over. Mumbai Indians leg-spinner Rahul Chahar had rocked Knight Riders with a four-wicket haul a few days back, and on Friday his cousin, Deepak, proved he’s equally adept at the task. Three of Chahar’s wickets came inside the Powerplay overs as Punjab Kings slipped quickly into oblivion.
A bout of Covid had ruined his performance in the UAE and Chahar is keen to make amends this time. He knows that a scintillating performance will not only keep him in the selectors’ shortlist ahead of the T20 World Cup, but will also benefit CSK.
Chahar broke through Mayank Agarwal’s defence, Chris Gayle paid the price for launching into the drive a shade early with Jadeja diving full length at short cover to complete a stunning catch, Nicholas Pooran pulled straight to long leg and then Deepak Hooda failed to keep his bat away from the away-going delivery.