Bollinger bruised, and classic offspin bowling
The ever-reliable R Ashwin should have picked up a wicket in his first over. Instead he had to look on in agony as Albie Morkel, fielding at short fine leg, put down a chance when Shaun Marsh swept the ball in the air. It wasn't struck hard and came to Morkel at about knee height, but he fluffed the offering. Marsh was on 10 and went on to hit an unbeaten 88 off 57 balls, and that proved decisive in Kings XI Punjab maintaining a strong offensive.
As soon as the top edge flew off Irfan Pathan's bat towards the short third man region, Mathew Hayden, running in from gully, stopped MS Dhoni from attempting the catch as he saw Sudeep Tyagi charging in form third man. Considering Tyagi was running towards the catch as opposed to Dhoni, following the flight of the ball, Hayden's call was apt. Tyagi, however, came up with a lame effort and spilled an easy catch. Even the stunner he took to dismiss Mahela Jayawardene was not enough to atone for this mistake.
One sweep shot too many saw Punjab briefly allow Chennai Super Kings a window of opportunity. Sangakkara went across the line to a tossed up delivery from Ashwin, leaving a big gap between bat and pad, and in the next over Yuvraj Singh swept a full ball from Suresh Raina and was struck flush in front. In fact he missed the ball so completely that it pitched between his legs and hit him on the bent left leg. In contrast, Shaun Marsh refrained from sweeping and collected an unbeaten 88.
Bowling the 19th over of the innings, Bollinger had a chance to and limit the damage. Instead he served up deliveries Geoffrey Boycott would have fancied his mum to hit. When he pitched wide, Marsh freed his arms and clubbed a clean six. Bollinger went shorter and wider and Irfan Pathan top-edged a four. Bollinger then bowled a length ball which Marsh walloped down the ground for six. Punjab ransacked 19 runs from the over and surged to 192.
Thank you, Ramesh
After 20 overs of indifferent bowling, during which all but one of Chennai's bowlers struggled to out think the batsmen, Ramesh Powar bowled an outstanding spell of classical, daring offspin. There was flight, there was dip, there was bite and there was turn. And one lovely delivery did for Matthew Hayden, who was lured into a booming drive away from the body and he nicked to an alert Sangakkara as the ball drifted away teasingly. Cramped by flatter deliveries pitching on and around leg stump , Hayden was foxed by the tempting offbreak that so few spinners dare to try in Twenty20.
The Powar-Sangakkara combo struck moments later to leave Chennai in strife, and again the stand-out feature was flight and turn. Powar tossed the ball up, the turn on the delivery was sharp, M Vijay lost balance as it spun past the pads, and Sangakkara broke the stumps in a flash. Watching a wide delivery was never more pleasing in Twenty20.
Irfan tightens noose around Punjab
If Tyagi was looking for sympathy after his earlier drop, he could have got it from Irfan who, rushing in from third man, dropped a leading edge from Morkel as Sangakkara and Marsh, from point, charged to snatch an easy catch. Morkel blasted a straight four the very next ball and his presence allowed Dhoni to not panic and take Chennai into the semis.