Super Kings v Kings XI, IPL 2014, Qualifier 2, Mumbai May 30, 2014

Kings XI survive Raina scare to win runfest


Kings XI Punjab 226 for 6 (Sehwag 122, Miller 38) beat Chennai Super Kings 202 for 7 (Raina 87, Dhoni 42*) by 24 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Chennai Super Kings were making a chase of 227 look absurdly simple. Suresh Raina seemed to be batting in a trance that was slowing down time, and slowing down cricket-ball physics, as if he were a character in a dodgy, CGI-heavy action film. Raina was making Virender Sehwag's 58-ball 122 from earlier in the day look like an everyday sort of innings.

Super Kings were 100 for 2 after six overs. It was the highest Powerplay score in Twenty20 cricket. Raina was batting on 87 off 25 balls. The asking rate, which had been 11.35 at the start of the chase, was now 9.07.

It looked as if only a run-out could end Raina's eerie innings. And this was exactly what happened, following a smart piece of captaincy and an even smarter piece of fielding, both from George Bailey. Having brought on Karanveer Singh, the legspinner, and having brought the field in to deny Brendon McCullum the easy single, Bailey himself was called on to capitalise on the batsman's over-eagerness to bring Raina back on strike. Bailey sprinted hard to his left, picked up the ball, transferred it to his throwing hand, and released a hard, flat throw, all this on the turn.

The direct hit caught Raina well short. The throw broke the wicket, and broke the spell that Raina had cast over the game. The magnitude of the target dawned anew on Super Kings, and the magnitude of the total they were defending injected fresh belief into the Kings XI players. Having scored 100 in the first six overs, Super Kings could only manage 102 off the last 14, and even a customary last-ball six from MS Dhoni could not prevent defeat by 24 runs.

Raina found himself in the middle in the first over of the chase, after Mitchell Johnson had sent back Faf du Plessis with a short ball that had gotten big on him. As soon as he arrived, Raina seemed to be batting in a bubble. He tore into Sandeep Sharma in the second over, shredding him for three fours and a six through and over his favourite extra-cover and midwicket areas. Three fours and three sixes - the pick of them a pull over deep backward square leg off Johnson - followed in the next three overs, taking Raina to 55 off 18.

He had reached his fifty in 16 balls, and become the second-quickest to the mark in the IPL, but he hadn't even slipped into top gear. That happened in the sixth over, in which the unfortunate Parvinder Awana went for 33, in a sequence that read 6, 6, 4, 4, 4 (no ball), 4, 4. It was crisp hitting all the way through, but two shots stood out: a six hit straight over the bowler's head, effortlessly, with a perfectly straight bat and minimal follow-through, and a flick off his toes that screamed past midwicket for four.

That, though, was to be it for Raina, who didn't face a single ball outside the Powerplay, thanks in part to Bailey, thanks in part to his own insistence in running that risky single despite McCullum's hesitation. And that was to be it for Super Kings as well. Raina had tore up a massive chunk of their target in no time, but their remaining batsmen simply could not get going.

They also made a couple of tactical decisions that were, in hindsight, questionable: Ravindra Jadeja and David Hussey walked in ahead of Dhoni, who finally came in with 87 required from 47 balls, with too little firepower left in the dugout. The task proved well beyond an out-of-sorts Dhoni in the end.

Before Raina pushed it to the background, the evening had been lit up by Virender Sehwag's second IPL century. Coming towards the close of a season in which he has steadily gathered form, the Sehwag who burst upon the Wankhede came very close to resembling the Sehwag of his peak years, merciless on the smallest amount of width, disdainful against the spinners, and equally capable of stinging power and cheeky placement. His spectacles might have lent him an avuncular air at the crease, but he was as alert to the possibility of a quick single as he used to be in his Test-match opening partnerships with Gautam Gambhir four or five years ago.

With Super Kings' bowlers feeding him a juicy, back-of-a-length diet interspersed with full-tosses (they bowled 17 in all), Sehwag raced along at a strike rate of over 200, outshining all of his teammates in the process. Manan Vohra only scored 34 out of an opening stand of 110, Glenn Maxwell 13 out of a second-wicket stand of 38 and David Miller 31 out of a third-wicket partnership of 63.

When du Plessis took a difficult diving effort at extra cover to send back Sehwag, Kings XI were 211 for 3 with 11 balls to go. It was the third time in three matches this season that they had crossed 200 against Super Kings. For the third time, their batting firepower set them up for a comfortable victory. For six unreal overs, though, their total looked glaringly inadequate.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vasudevan on June 1, 2014, 9:25 GMT

    Cannot but feel really sorry for Raina and CSK fans. A run rate of 9 was easily achievable with 15 overs and 8 wickets in hand. All the foreign star batsmen were a disappointment, seemingly playing without purpose, and careless stroke play or running between wickets and losing the fantastic momentum given by Raina. Both Faf and Brendon were clueless and out of sorts in their positions. Smith was out to a lethargic offering of a lifted drive for a straight delivery. Hussey - did he come out to bat? Notwithstanding the lack of effort, not trying out Raina or Smith with the ball when the so-called regular bowlers were going at 11 p.o. proved very expensive. And so was the batting order. Did Jadeja have any good innings in this IPL to back up his promotion in the order? Maybe Dhoni has been there too long for CSK, maybe a fresh face needed to lead the side in future IPL.

  • Deep on June 1, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    The greatest T20 innings I've ever seen given the circumstances from Raina. But my predictions were correct. Ashwin conceded no less than 40 runs and CSK got thrashed around the park. Good match though.

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    Sehwag is mater in his class. It was sad to see him going out from DD but the right side picked the right guy,,,,,,,,,,Being a punjabi i favoured KIX Punjab.

  • Nick on June 1, 2014, 1:26 GMT

    I personally think this deserved a separate section of its own but if not that, the totally uncalled for send-off that Ashwin gave Maxwell should at-least have been mentioned in this report. Day by day, Ashwin is starting to act like a punk spoiled brattish little kid and his behaviour needs to be checked now, before he gets himself into any major issues.

    The match referee really needs to keep his eyes open since that was a very obvious violation of on field code of conduct.

  • khs on May 31, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    Bailey is the finest captain of IPL team. Kings XI Panjab is the best team of the IPL (points itself shows). I am very happy that they defeated the CSK.Bravo.

  • Robert on May 31, 2014, 15:45 GMT

    Hard luck CSK but you played well. Good luck to KIngs XI and let priety have her first IPL title but I strongly feel that it's going to be a easy win for KKR. KKR is too strong and confident to be beaten by Kings XI. SRK going to have the last laugh.

  • Robert on May 31, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    CSK lost this match just bcoz of pure bad luck. The way Raina was batting, he would have easily scored more than Sehwag. People who are praising Sehwag like any thing should also praise Raina as Raina was playing under pressure of chasing a big score where Sehwag was playing freely without any pressure. And Raina's batting was immaculate. He was jnot just slogging. So I would say Raina's innings was better than Sehwag. And it was unfortunate he got run out. And its good for Team India as he's playing well. I firmly believe that he's a big asset for team India for T20 and ODIs.

  • Android on May 31, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    Well done Sehwag and KXIP.Hard luck Raina.Please go on to win the IPL

  • venkateswaran on May 31, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Has any one noticed this? The asking run rate for CSK was almost 12 run at the start of their innings. Their team was filled with 4 overseas batsmen. They totally faced 31 deliveries & not one ball was hit for a boundary!

  • manoj on May 31, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    @Facebook User who says George (Bailey) was completely useless. Are you serious? Did you actually watch this game? Because if you did you would have seen that he was responsible for the most important wicket in this match, that of Raina. Maybe Bailey didn't score many runs but heaven only knows how many he saved by running out Raina with that incredible play. One might actually go as far as to say that he saved the game for the Kings XI. He also has a tremendous disposition on the field and is a great calming influence on his players as he never seems to get rattled even when things are not going well This is not a description of someone who is "completely useless" in my books.

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