IPL 2019: Chennai spinners spoil Ravi Ashwin's homecoming as CSK go top of the table

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Spinners rein supreme for CSK. Image credit - @IPL/Twitter.

Defending Chennai Super Kings held their nerve to beat Kings XI Punjab by 22 runs to go top of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) standings.

Chennai’s spinners, especially Harbhajan Singh, were the stars of the show as excellent half-centuries by KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan went in vain for Punjab.

Faf du Plessis’ half-century had earlier helped the hosts post a challenging 160-3 on a slow deck at Chennai before Kings XI were restricted to 138-5 in their 20 overs. The win was Chennai’s fourth of the tournament from five games with the defending champions looking like the team to beat once again.

ASHWIN’S HAPPY HOMECOMING

Former Chennai stalwart Ravi Ashwin admitted to being emotional on his return to his old stomping ground but the Kings XI skipper barely showed any of it on the pitch with an excellent display.

The wily off-spinner might have erred by not picking Mujeeb ur Rahman in the playing XI on a spin-friendly track but he more than did his own part with the ball. Ashwin gave the visitors the crucial breakthrough after Chennai openers Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson had put on a 56-run stand by getting the better of the latter.

He saved his best for his final over where he dismissed the well set Du Plessis and Suresh Raina off consecutive deliveries to bring Kings XI roaring back into the game. With those dismissals, Ashwin has now become the most prolific bowler at the Chepauk stadium in IPL history.

CHENNAI START WELL AND FINISH WELL WITH BAT

MS Dhoni’s decision to bat first after winning the toss was vindicated by Watson and Faf who added 54 runs in the powerplay overs. The South African batsman was the more impressive of the pair with Du Plessis making the most of his maiden outing in the 2019 campaign.

The right-hander struck four sixes on his way to a 38-ball 54 before his innings was brought to an end by Ashwin. Chennai’s strong start with the bat was in danger of going to waste with Ashwin dragging Kings XI back into the match but skipper Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu provided them the much-needed late flourish with a flurry of boundaries.

In all, 44 runs came off the final 18 deliveries for the hosts with Dhoni continuing his excellent form with another powerful finish which saw the veteran smash a 23-ball 37.

CHENNAI SPINNERS CHOKE PUNJAB DESPITE RAHUL, SARFRAZ FIFTIES

Punjab’s chase of 161 began on a disastrous note with veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh dismissing Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal in a double-wicket maiden over. However, the visitors regrouped well through KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan.

Both Rahul and Sarfaraz struck half-centuries as they stitched together a 110-run stand which would have been a match-winning one on any other day. While Chennai were deprived of wickets for long stretches of the innings, their spinners did well on a slow surface to restrict Punjab’s scoring rate to manageable levels.

Harbhajan finished with excellent figures of 2-14 while Ravindra Jadeja went for only 24 runs in his four overs. Imran Tahir was unlucky to go wicket-less but the leg-spinner conceded only 20 runs from his quota. By the time the three spinners had bowled out in the 17th over, the equation for Punjab was 46 off 18.

Despite having eight wickets in hand at the stage, that proved too huge a mountain to climb for the visitors with the spin-contingent’s 12 overs proving to be the deciding factor.

BRIEF SCORES

Chennai Super Kings: 160-3

Faf du Plessis: 54 (38)

Ravi Ashwin: 3-23

Kings XI Punjab: 138-5

Sarfaraz Khan: 67 (55)

KL Rahul: 55 (47)

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Kohli.

The 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) season heads into match 20 with Royal Challengers Bangalore playing host to Delhi Capitals on Sunday.

As fans, watching the action is not the only thing to look forward to – IPL fantasy games mean you have the opportunity to get involved as well.

As the IPL’s official partner, Dream11 runs a daily contest for each game apart from the default format which is conducted per round.

Here, we focus on helping you navigate your way through the former.

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Virat Kohli – RCB (11 credits)

Has Virat Kohli ever been this fired up? His RCB side have endured a horror start to the season, losing each of their five matches so far. The skipper hasn’t been at his best either but after a good knock in the second game against Mumbai Indians, he went big with 84 from 49 balls in their most recent defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders. He’ll be determined to try and lead RCB out of their losing streak again.

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Yuzvendra Chahal – RCB (9 credits)

Easily the pick of the RCB bowlers. In fact, Yuzvendra Chahal is the leading wicket-taker this season with nine to his name and an economy of 6.45. Bizarrely, he’s yet to finish on the winning side. Fortunately, that counts for little in fantasy league terms.

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Marcus Stoinis – RCB (8 credits)

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Rishabh Pant – DC (10 credits)

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CAPTAIN – Virat Kohli

VICE CAPTAIN – Yuzvendra Chahal.

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Sport360 staff 17:10 06/04/2019
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Bairstow is in sensational touch. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

The second game of Saturday’s double-header in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) sees Sunrisers Hyderabad play host to three-time champions Mumbai Indians.

2016 champions Sunrisers have been in excellent form so far in their campaign and have registered three victories from their four matches.

Mumbai, meanwhile, have lost half of their four matches so far but come into the clash on the back of a morale-boosting win over defending champions Chennai Super Kings.

Will Sunrisers extend their excellent start to five matches or will Mumbai make it back-to-back victories for themselves? Follow the ball-by-ball updates fro Hyderabad below to find out.

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