Pune (Maharashtra): In the final league game of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) made light work of the 154 run target set by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on Sunday to bring an end to the latter’s 2018 IPL campaign.
Punjab had a mountain to climb to ensure qualification to the knockout round as they had to register a 53 run win over the two-time champions in order to usurp Rajasthan Royal’s (RR) place in the fourth spot.
Having been put to bat first, the Punjab outfit managed a meager total of 153 runs, making their task even steeper as they would now have to restrict CSK to within 100 runs.
22-year-old South African seamer Lungi Ndidi, who came to prominence in the test series in India’s tour of South Africa in January, finished his brilliant four-over spell with figures of 4-10. Useful contributions from D. J. Bravo (2-39) and S. N. Thakur (2-33), also helped maintain pressure on the Punjab batting order.
Although CSK had a fluttering start themselves, having been reduced to 27-3 in the fifth over, Suresh Raina guided his team out of trouble with a patient 48-ball 61. Deepak Chahar, who also scalped Aaron Finch’s wicket, chipped in with a valuable 39.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni then completed his side’s chase in the first ball of the 20th over in signature style as he hooked a short-pitched delivery by Mohit Sharma to the stands.
The win ensured Rajasthan Royal’s qualification to the playoffs as they finished above fellow contenders KXIP and Mumbai Indians, who also fluffed their lines earlier today, falling 11 runs short of Delhi Daredevils’ 175-run target.
CSK will now have to gear up for the Qualifier 1 match on Tuesday against table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad, with the winner progressing directly to the IPL Final scheduled for next Sunday.
Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders will face RR for the Eliminator match on Wednesday, the winner of which will advance to the Qualifier 2. They will then face the loser of Qualifier 1 to book the second berth in the Finals. (ANI)