Muttiah Muralitharan was Chennai Super Kings' spy, taking out two of the most prolific batsmen from his country, setting up another thumping defeat for the whipping boys of the tournament so far, Kings XI Punjab. It wasn't as if Chennai needed any extra-ordinary bowling effort: the Punjab batsmen were hapless again.

Still Murali's 4-0-16-3 was just what Chennai needed to wallop a struggling side. Between two spells of ordinary cricket from Punjab came Murali's genius. In his first over, inside the Powerplay, he beat Kumar Sangakarra twice in the flight, but the real beauty came in his second. This time he didn't bowl it flat when he saw Sangakkara charging down, just got it to dip it more and then the bounce left him high and dry.

Mahela Jayawardene was made to look poorer than that. Murali first beat a late-cut with a topspinner from round the stumps, and then got a flighted offbreak to turn enough to beat the bat and get an lbw decision. At 64 for 4 after 11 overs, Punjab were looking at a freak innings from Yuvraj to keep them alive.

Yuvraj hit four fours and two sixes, but Murali came back to take out Mohammad Kaif in his final over and make sure Chennai were chasing a meagre total. Murali's batsmen, though, let him down twice, managing to tie the game with some poor batting, and then giving him just nine runs to defend.