Punjab Kings 139 for 4 (Rahul 98*, Thakur 3-28) beat Chennai Super Kings 134 for 6 (du Plessis 76, Jordan 2-20, Arshdeep 2-35) by six wickets

KL Rahul blitzed his way to an unbeaten 98 off 42 balls as Punjab Kings mowed down 135 in 13 overs, but it could all still be too late for the side. With the win, Punjab Kings leapfrogged Mumbai Indians to fifth, but they have too many permutations and combinations to contend with and need many things to go their way to make the playoffs, making progress appear unlikely.

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WATCH - Rahul hits a massive six to take Punjab to victory
WATCH - Rahul hits a massive six to take Punjab to victory

Kings go short; CSK go slow
Mohammed Shami's fifth ball thudded into Ruturaj Gaikwad's gloves and discomfited him. Arshdeep Singh then targetted Gaikwad's left shoulder with a similar sharp lifter and had him miscuing a pull to midwicket for 12 off 14 balls. Moeen Ali had to contend with the short stuff as well: after Shami pushed him back, Arshdeep swung one away from the left-hander to have him nicking off in the last over of the powerplay.

By the time Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu were also bested by short balls, Super Kings were 42 for 4 in the ninth over. MS Dhoni threatened to break free when he crunched a legbreak from Ravi Bishnoi to the cover boundary, but the spinner struck back to take out Dhoni with a wrong'un.

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WATCH - Faf du Plessis hits a monster six off Arshdeep Singh
WATCH - Faf du Plessis hits a monster six off Arshdeep Singh

Fabulous Faf
Kings XI's attack subdued Ravindra Jadeja as well, keeping him to 15 off 17 balls, but Faf du Plessis got on top of them in the slog overs. After reaching 50 off 46 balls, du Plessis looked spent, but quickly jumped into top gear, walloping three fours and two sixes in his next eight balls. du Plessis also lined up Shami, who had looked unhittable in the powerplay, before the quick pounded the pitch once again and had the batter top-edging a pull for 76 off 55 balls.

Rahul on a roll
Super Kings had smashed 52 off their last five overs to give their attack something to bowl at, but Punjab Kings hit nearly as many (51) in the powerplay itself to regain control. With Punjab Kings needing to win big (and needing other results go their way), Rahul went on a boundary-hitting spree from the get-go - like he used to do back in the day. He was particularly brutal on Deepak Chahar, taking him for 34 off just 12 balls. Josh Hazlewood briefly shook up Rahul when he struck him on the helmet, but the Kings captain overcame that blow and also took him to the cleaners in the powerplay.

Rahul surged to his half-century off 25 balls, and eventually finished the chase with a six, his eighth overall on Thursday, handing Super Kings their third successive defeat.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo