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IPL Match 53: Chennai claim top spot with thumping win against Punjab

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The Chennai Super Kings reaffirmed their position as the favourites for the title in IPL Season 8 by claiming top spot in the league standings by crushing the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali this afternoon.

The Kings XI won the toss and chose to bat first, but their nightmare summer continued with the bat as they were quickly reduced to 55-5 at the half-way stage in the game. The wickets were as always shared around by the Super Kings bowlers, but Ravichandran Ashwin was once again in spectacular form, taking 1-14 from his 4 overs, while rookie Pawan Negi took 2-25.

Axar Patel (32 from 29 balls) and Rishi Dhawan (25* from 20 balls) helped Kings XI cross the hundred run mark and post a semi-respectable total of 130-7 on the board. While that was always going to be 30-40 runs short, it at least gave their bowlers something to work with.

Mike Hussey, who was given his first outing of the summer by the Super Kings today in place of Dwayne Smith, failed to make the most of the opportunity, falling to Sandeep Sharma for 1. Beuran Hendricks made it a double blow by removing the always dangerous Brendon McCullum for 6 in the very next over to leave Chennai in a spot of bother at 10-2.

However, that was pretty much as good as it got for Punjab, who ran into a brick wall in the form of Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina, with the duo sharing a 92 run partnership for the third wicket to put Chennai in a position of strength.

Du Plessis made 55 from 41 balls before he was knocked over by Rishi Dhawan, but skipper MS Dhoni walked out and smashed 25 from just 16 deliveries to seal the win for Chennai.

It was a disappointing end to a poor season for Kings XI, whose Aussie stars appeared to be suffering from a World Cup hangover, and whose Indian players, with the exception of Axar Patel, lacked consistency.

Chennai meanwhile proceed into the Qualifier to be played at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday, giving them two bites of the cherry as they attempt to reach yet another final.


Kings XI Punjab: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Manan Vohra, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, George Bailey (c), Axar Patel, Gurkeerat Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Beuran Hendricks, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma

Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Pawan Negi, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, Ishwar Pandey

Mini Scorecard:

Kings XI Punjab 130/7 (20 overs, 6.5rpo)

A Patel 32 (29) P Negi 2-25 (4)

R Dhawan 25* (20) R Ashwin 1-14 (4)

Chennai Super Kings 134/3 (16.5 overs, 7.96rpo)

F du Plessis 55 (41) S Sharma 1-9 (2)

S Raina 41* (34) R Dhawan 1-12 (2)

Chennai Super Kings win by 7 wickets