Punjab win to join mid-table scrum
Kings XI Punjab 156 for 8 (Mandeep 56, Morkel 3-29) beat Chennai Super Kings 149 for 8 (Mahmood 3-35) by seven runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kings XI Punjab were disconsolate after their previous match, when they leaked 32 runs in the final two overs of the chase to gift victory to Mumbai Indians. Three days later, they were faced with the same situation, but this time there were no goof-ups as they upset Chennai Super Kings and silenced the crowd at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Punjab seemed to have scored too little after choosing to bat first, ending on 156 after 20-year-old opener Mandeep Singh made his first half-century of the season. They lost 6 for 27 towards the end of the innings, which meant there was no late flourish, leaving Chennai the happier side at the halfway stage.
When Faf du Plessis confidently strode down the track to hammer Punjab's quick bowlers, Chennai were galloping along at nine an over. With Chennai possessing a line-up that had hitters down to No. 10, the game was slipping away but Punjab didn't lose faith. They caused a Chennai collapse to match their own - 5 for 38 - to scrap their way back into the game.
Of Piyush Chawla's IPL performances this season, most people only remember the caning he received at the hands of Robin Peterson and Ambati Rayudu, but he has also been one of the most economical bowlers of the tournament.
He showed that the Mumbai mauling was an aberration, with a superb spell in the middle that put the brakes on Chennai. He had Suresh Raina stumped, getting a delivery to slant past the outside edge, and then had Ravindra Jadeja slicing to cover to finish with 4-0-20-2.
Still, Chennai had two power-hitters, Dwayne Bravo and Albie Morkel, in the middle after 15 overs, and the target was 58 away, certainly not beyond their reach. Both had choked Punjab with the ball, and were now seemingly ready to finish the job with the bat.
Azhar Mahmood then showed off his Twenty20 experience, bowling a mix of slower balls and yorkers in the 16th over to stifle Chennai. Praveen Kumar followed up with a series of low full tosses, which also proved hard to put away. Parvinder Awana, the least experienced of the lot, also kept his cool, regularly find the blockhole and following the batsmen as they backed away.
With 32 needed off the final two overs, Praveen stuck to the low-full-toss strategy, and though Bravo smacked a straight six, he holed out three deliveries later. An inside-edge for four brought it down to 17 off the last over, with Mahmood given the responsibility of bowling it. He was spot-on, dismissing Morkel first ball and dishing out the yorkers.
Chennai were nearly out of it, with 11 needed off two deliveries. The batsman Nuwan Kulasekara then backed away from the stumps, Mahmood followed him but Kulasekara shuffled across towards off and the ball went down leg to the keeper. They scrambled a run, and expected a wide to be signalled. There wasn't one, though, much to Chennai's consternation. R Ashwin had a heated argument with Praveen Kumar, but there was no change in the umpire's decision, and the game was finally Punjab's.
Mahmood had been instrumental to changing the game earlier on as well, removing both set openers, du Plessis and S Badrinath. MS Dhoni promoted both Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha ahead of himself, but neither could make an impact. Dhoni himself was run-out in 14th over, charging out after under-edging a ball and not realising it was right next to the keeper. With Chennai at 88 for 5, not only had Punjab fought back, they were ahead.
It hadn't seemed that they would topple Chennai when they wasted the start provided by Mandeep, who wilted under the heat and humidity of the afternoon. He had begun well, avoiding the slogs and heaves that are integral to Twenty20, and favouring inside-out drives to provide the initial acceleration. He faded, though, managing only one boundary in the 11 overs after the Powerplay.
Punjab's captain, David Hussey, also decided to demote himself, sending Mahmood and David Miller ahead of him, another move that didn't work. That left Hussey only four overs to bat at the end, and needing to swing from ball one, he failed. Punjab seemingly ended well short of a total to challenge Chennai, but their bowlers got it right to pull off an unlikely victory.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo