Super Kings fall short despite Dhoni's late heroics
Chennai Super Kings missed the chance to draw level with Sunrisers Hyderabad at the top of the IPL table as they slipped to their first defeat of the 2018 season, going down by four runs in a high-scoring thriller against Kings XI Punjab.
Captain MS Dhoni hit an unbeaten 79 from 44 balls but Chennai fell narrowly short of their 198-run target, finishing up on 193-5 in Chandigarh.
Kings XI had posted 197-7 thanks to 63 from the recalled Chris Gayle, the West Indies opener hitting four sixes and seven fours in a brutal 33-ball knock that laid the platform for his side.
The in-form KL Rahul weighed in with 37 to help set a daunting total, one that proved just out of Super Kings' reach despite Dhoni's heroics at the death.
GAYLE BLOWS SUPER KINGS AWAY
Kings XI were given a flying start thanks to openers Rahul and Gayle, the pair putting on 96 in eight overs after Chennai had put them into bat.
Rahul followed up knocks of 51 and 47 in the first two games with 37 from 22 balls, though he played second fiddle as Gayle tore into the bowlers before falling in tame fashion, steering a simple catch to short fine leg off Shane Watson's bowling.
Yuvraj Singh (20) and Karun Nair (29) made telling contributions in the closing overs as, apart from Aaron Finch - who fell for a second straight golden duck, all of the Kings XI top seven made it into double figures.
Shardul Thakur and Imran Tahir picked up two wickets apiece for Super Kings, who narrowly avoided conceding over 200 runs with the ball for a second successive outing.
Congratulations to the boys. Good to win this. Excellent knock from Dhoni ,kept everybody on the edge of their seats. But Chris Gayle ,the Universe Boss was magnificent. Our spinners did well to contain in the middle overs. #KXIPvCSK-- Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) April 15, 2018
DHONI BACK TO HIS BEST
Chennai - who had successfully chased in wins over Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders in the campaign already - struggled to get going in their reply.
Openers Watson (11) and Murali Vijay (12) perished early and when Sam Billings was trapped lbw by Ravichandran Ashwin for nine, the spinner making use of the review system to overturn an original not out decision, the Super Kings were 56-3 in the seventh over.
Ambati Rayudu made 49 before he was superbly run out by opposing captain Ashwin's direct hit, leaving Dhoni to try and drag his team over the line in the closing stages.
Despite being bothered by a a back problem, the wicketkeeper-batsman blasted five sixes - including one off the final ball of the contest - but Kings XI held their nerve to clinch a victory that moves them level with their opponents in the standings.