Did KL Rahul score too slowly?
The scorecard tells the story clearly enough. KL Rahul made 63 off 52 balls, scoring at 7.26 runs per over, while the other Kings XI Punjab batsmen made a combined 111 off 68, at 9.79. The Chennai Super Kings chased down their target of 179 with all ten wickets in hand and 14 balls to spare. Rahul's innings clearly had a significant impact on the result.
There is quite a debate around the anchor role in T20 cricket, and while most teams play at least one such batsman, there were times during Rahul's innings when he seemed to be scoring far too slowly even for someone playing that role. At the end of the 14th over, for instance, he was batting on 46 off 44 balls.
This has been a consistent approach from Rahul through this season. While his overall strike rate is a healthy 141.78, his strike rate over the first 30 balls of his innings is only 116.41. He's capable of destroying attacks if he stays in long enough - he smashed 42 off the last nine balls of his innings against the Royal Challengers Bangalore to finish with an unbeaten 132 off 69 - but there's always the risk that he could be dismissed before the final flourish.
This is what happened against the Rajasthan Royals, against whom he made 69 off 54, and it happened again today, when he was caught behind off Shardul Thakur in the 18th over of the Kings XI's innings. And the late assault against the Royal Challengers wouldn't have happened if Virat Kohli hadn't dropped two catches off him.
As such, it seems a risky strategy - if it's indeed what the team wants - if the Kings XI want Rahul to bat through their innings at a lower tempo than he's capable of achieving, just to ensure there are wickets in hand later on. In T20, wickets in hand can simply mean wasted resources: you don't want that with the likes of Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell in your side.
Why did Kings XI go back to Chris Jordan, and not pick Mujeeb Ur Rahman?
The Kings XI's death-bowling issues have been widely documented and debated, and there's no readymade solution in their squad. Chris Jordan hadn't featured since going for 56 - including 30 in his final over - against the Delhi Capitals, but the other options Kings XI had tried since then - fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Sheldon Cottrell, the medium-pace of James Neesham, the offspin of K Gowtham - hadn't worked either.
Jordan has more experience at the death than all the other Kings XI bowlers, and has made some crucial interventions in that phase for England in particular. Going back to him was simply an admission from Kings XI that they were best off trusting the most tried-and-tested of the limited options at their disposal.
One option Kings XI haven't tried so far, however, is the Afghanistan mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Mujeeb can bowl at the death, but he's best known for his tight spells in the powerplay, a phase in which Shami and Cottrell had performed excellently for Kings XI before this match. Bringing him in would have been an uneasy fit, and Mujeeb wouldn't have brought Kings XI the lower-order hitting ability that Jordan possesses.
Have the Super Kings found their ideal combination?
It's too early to say, and there will be some grumbles that the Super Kings haven't found room for Imran Tahir, one of the best white-ball spinners in world cricket, but their line-up now looks to have more bases covered than it did at the start of the season, when a number of players were unavailable for various reasons.
The return to form of Shane Watson is a huge plus, of course, but with Ambati Rayudu and Dwayne Bravo back in the side after recovering from injury, the middle order wears a healthier look too. And the Super Kings possibly bat deeper than any other side in the tournament, with allrounders Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja and Sam Curran followed by three very capable lower-order contributors at 9, 10 and 11, in Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar and Piyush Chawla.
What has Watson done to regain his touch?
Watson has proven his doubters wrong multiple times in the past - most memorably with a century in the 2018 IPL final following a lean run through the tournament - but he's 39 now and there are more doubters than ever.
Like always, the Super Kings management trusted him to come good again, and he did just that. What changed between the first four matches of the season and this one?
For one, he's spent some time in the middle and shaken off the rustiness that nearly every player in this tournament has had to deal with, thanks to the prolonged Covid-19-induced pause in world cricket. But at the presentation ceremony, Watson revealed that he'd also made a technical adjustment leading up to this game, which allowed him to get his head over his front leg and achieve better weight-transfer through his shots.
Watch the two boundaries he hit off Cottrell in the third over of the Super Kings chase, over wide mid-on and back over the bowler's head. Both are perfect illustrations of Watson's head position helping him hit through the line with power and precision.