Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar stifle CSK into submission.

Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar stifle CSK into submission.

A spin choke unfolded at Chepauk, but it wasn’t the home team administering it. Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar claimed four wickets between them without conceding a single boundary as Punjab Kings secured their fifth consecutive victory against the Chennai Super Kings. The triumph was orchestrated by the two spinners, who played a crucial role in restricting the hosts to 162/7 – a target that proved manageable to chase under extremely dewy conditions. This win ensured that despite a slow start to the season, PBKS remained within touching distance of a playoff position. CSK’s second home defeat meant they failed to solidify their position in the top four.

Where the game turned: The significant spin contrast

PBKS’ spin duo – Brar and Chahar – outperformed their CSK counterparts – Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali. Despite the dew disadvantage, Brar and Chahar excelled, especially during the nine middle overs where CSK failed to find a single boundary.

Chennai Super Kings

After losing the toss for the ninth time in 10 games, CSK experienced two distinct phases during the PowerPlay. The initial four overs yielded only 23 runs as Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ajinkya Rahane grappled with the challenging red-soil pitch. However, overs five and six, bowled by Arshdeep Singh and Sam Curran, brought CSK 32 runs. Rahane, in particular, capitalized with three fours in the sixth over, leading to CSK’s first wicketless PowerPlay of the season.

Middle Overs: Brar’s brilliance; no boundaries conceded Harpreet Brar [2-17] and Rahul Chahar [2-16] orchestrated a remarkable containment during the middle overs, with CSK failing to register a single boundary off the bat in nine overs. This feat is noteworthy, having occurred only four times in IPL history, last seen in the RRvMI clash in IPL 2021. Brar dismissed Rahane with a miscued slog-sweep and then became the first left-arm finger-spinner to dismiss Shivam Dube since 2022. Meanwhile, Chahar outfoxed Ravindra Jadeja, trapping him leg-before with a well-flighted leg-break. Both spinners maintained an excellent length, exploiting the bounce and turn offered by the red-soil pitch. CSK’s Sameer Rizvi and Gaikwad struggled against their disciplined bowling.

Punjab Kings

PowerPlay: CSK’s setback; PBKS’s strong start

While Rahul shone on the field, his cousin Deepak’s day turned sour. CSK suffered a setback when Deepak left the field with a hamstring injury after bowling just two balls. This injury worsened CSK’s situation, compounded by the absence of Matheesha Pathirana and Tushar Deshpande due to niggles. Despite debutant Richard Gleeson’s early wicket, Rilee Rossouw’s aggressive start, with four boundaries in his first two balls, set PBKS on course. Jonny Bairstow’s quickfire 46 further consolidated their position.

Middle Overs: Dew neutralizes CSK’s spinners

The first two overs after the PowerPlay tilted the game decisively. Gaikwad introduced spin, but Jadeja and Moeen leaked runs, allowing Bairstow to assert dominance. Dube’s breakthrough dismissed Bairstow, but Rossouw’s brisk 43 kept PBKS in control.

Death overs: Curran, Shashank steer PBKS to victory

The final phase was a mere formality as Sam Curran and Shashank Singh calmly guided PBKS to victory with 13 balls to spare.

Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 162/7 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 62; Rahul Chahar 2-16, Harpreet Brar 2-17) lost to Punjab Kings 163/3 in 17.5 overs (Jonny Bairstow 46, Rilee Rossouw 43; Richard Gleeson 1-30) by seven wickets.

What’s next for the teams?

The two teams will clash again in four days [May 5], this time in Dharamsala.

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