Punjab Kings captain K.L Rahul single-handedly took his side to six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in the 53rd match of IPL 2021.
PBKS reached the 135-run target with seven overs and six wickets in hand.
Rahul sizzles with the bat
The 29-year-old batted with a strike rate of 233.33 and smacked unbeaten 98 off 42 in 135 run chase.
He powered Punjab to 139/4 in just 13 overs with the help of seven fours and eight maximums.
CSK has now faced three consecutive defeats after confirming their place in the playoffs.
They will face Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1 on October 10.
Rahul claimed ‘Orange Cap’ after Faf du Plessis overtook it in the first innings of the match.
The right-hander has amassed 626 runs in 14 innings with six fifty-plus scores.
Rahul opined that he was aware of what he wants to bat and it came off as expected. “Just one of those days when it comes off. Had complete clarity of what I wanted to do. I feel like I may end up letting the team down if I play how I want to play. But today, this was how I needed to play.”
Rahul revealed that he had few things in mind for remaining in contention for playoffs. “It was really hot today. Plan was simple, the numbers guys told us a few permutations and combinations. We wanted to score it before 14 overs.”
Remember, he was the orange cap winner in 2020 too but it’s look unlikely as CSK openers Du Plessis (546) and Ruturuj Gaikwad (533) have the opportunity to claim it as they have two more matches of playoffs.
Punjab pin hopes on playoffs qualification
Punjab moved to fifth with 12 points on the table above Mumbai Indians on run-rate.
They are now hoping for two things to happen to finish in last four.
Scenario 1 is Kolkata Knight Riders lose with a massive margin today to Rajasthan Royals.
If KKR lose by 71 runs while chasing 180 then Punjab can have a mild chance.
Eoin Morgan-led KKR have 12 points and are fourth on table.
Scenario 2 is Mumbai lose tomorrow to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Punjab have now finished on 12 points for the fourth consecutive season.
Jordan impresses in comeback match
Chris Jordan was the pick of the bowlers for Punjab as he returned with figures of 2/20 in three overs.
Jordan was making his first experience in UAE leg of the competition.
The all-rounder bagged wickets of Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayadu in consecutive overs.
Du Plessis anchors CSK to respectable total.
Faf du Plessis played a lone hand for CSK as the wickets kept falling from the other end.
The 37-year-old’s knock of 76 in 55 balls, led them to 134/6 after Punjab opted to bowl.
Du Plessis stroked eight fours and a couple of sixes.
He also claimed ‘The Orange Cap’ during the knock.
Gaikwad (12), MS Dhoni (12), Ravindra Jadeja (15) were the other three batters to reach double-figures.
Thakur knocks at selectors doors
Where all bowlers went for plenty of runs, Shardul Thakur continued his hot streak with the ball in hand.
He bagged back-to-back wickets of Mayank Agarwal and Sarfaraz Khan in the fifth over.
Later he also removed Aiden Markram to finish with figures of 3/29.
Thakur, who is on India’s reserves list for T20 World Cup, knocked at the selectors’ doors once again as his bowling is asking questions of why he is not in the side.
He has taken 18 wickets with a strike rate of 18.7 in 14 matches till now.
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.