In the first match played on Saturday in the Indian T20 league, Chennai beat Punjab by 22 runs. It was the fourth win in five matches of Chennai. Earlier, batting first, Chennai made a target of 161 runs against Punjab. In reply, Punjab scored 138 runs in 5 wickets in the 20 overs set.
Punjab did make a fist of the chase though. After losing 2 pretty quickly, the 110-run stand for the third wicket between Rahul and Sarfaraz seemed to get Punjab back on track. In fact at the halfway stage, both teams had the same score. But the timing of the attack - never came from the visitors.
Were the tourists too careful? They looked to play out Tahir and even Harbhajan Singh. Waited and waited for the seamers to come back on but Dhoni played his trump cards to perfection. When Kuggeleijn came back on to bowl, Punjab needed 46 from the final 3 overs. He got the big wicket of Rahul and conceded just 7. That spoilt the plans and the chances of a Russell-Southee encore from the Bangalore-Kolkata match did not happen.
Earlier in the day, Chennai huffed and puffed to 160 after looking close to reaching 200 at the halfway mark. Faf du Plessis anchored the innings but then when he and Raina fell, the hosts seemed to be losing their way before Dhoni and Rayudu ensured that they got a defendable score.
HARBHAJAN SINGH has been named the Man Of The Match for his exceptional figures of 4-1-17-2. That is all for this game. Do hop over for the eagerly awaited Hyderabad-Mumbai contest.