Miller and Marsh threaten to pull it off for Kings XI Punjab but the visitors fall 15 runs short

For close to an hour on Thursday, a David Miller-Shaun Marsh special threatened to overshadow Suresh Raina’s splendid maiden IPL hundred. But, ultimately, Chennai Super Kings pulled off a record-equalling seventh consecutive win. The 15-run victory all but assures the former champion of a place in the playoffs.

The 95-run alliance for the fourth wicket in a little less than nine overs almost did it for Kings XI Punjab. But a magnificent final over from Dwayne Bravo, which gave away just three runs and removed three batsmen including Marsh, soothed the nerves of the Chennai crowd who have now witnessed four last-over finishes in as many games.

Purple Cap for Bravo

Bravo’s efforts took his wickets tally to 19, earning him the Purple Cap.

KXIP’s opening pair failed to click again, with Luke Pomersbach bowled while trying to slog Mohit Sharma on the leg-side. Albie Morkel and Mohit bowled eight on the trot keeping the run-rate relatively under check.

But Miller (51 n.o., 26b) and Shaun Marsh (73, 51b) quickened the pace. KXIP’s hundred came in 12.3 overs — faster than CSK’s. Raina chanced his arm for the first time in this IPL, but was hammered out of the attack conceding 19 runs in one over.

Earlier, Raina’s innings was a delight to watch. Never did he try to over-hit the ball; he often caressed it to the boundary. Five of his six sixes went down the ground, and those characteristic cross-batted heaves over mid-wicket were missing. He galloped from 50 to 100 in just 21 balls.

Overall, CSK’s was an impeccably paced innings. At no point did the scoring seem too hurried in making 186. Its 50 came in 8.2 overs, 100 in 13.1, and 150 in 17.

Morkel and Raina put on 74 off 38 balls for the fourth wicket. In fact, the last ten overs yielded 117 runs.

Yet, it was not just raw power; the shots were easy on the eye.

KXIP bowled a shorter length at the outset.

Batsmen, especially Hussey, often had to either rock back or reach out for deliveries down the wicket.

On one such occasion, when Hussey advanced, Chawla sent a quicker one through and Gurkeerat Singh was quick to whip the bails off.

Skipper M.S. Dhoni, for a change, had an off day. Attempting a cheeky second run, he was run out by a throw from R. Sathish off his own bowling.

With David Hussey bowling his full quota of overs for 31 runs — a huge improvement from his one over that went for 27 against Mumbai Indians — the four overs from Manpreet Grewal and Sathish yielded 55 runs.

Scoreboard:

Chennai Super Kings: Wriddhiman Saha c Shaun Marsh b Awana 18 (18b, 1x4, 1x6), Michael Hussey st. Gurkeerat Singh b Chawla 35 (29b, 3x4), Suresh Raina (not out) 100 (53b, 7x4, 6x6), M.S. Dhoni (run out) 2 (2b), Albie Morkel c David Miller b Awana 23 (16b, 2x4, 1x6), Ravindra Jadeja (not out) 5 (2b, 1x4); Extras (lb-1, w-2): 3; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 186.

Fall of wickets: 1-27 (Saha), 2-82 (Hussey), 3-92 (Dhoni), 4-166 (Morkel).

Kings XI Punjab bowling: Praveen Kumar 4-0-38-0, David Hussey 4-0-31-0, Parvinder Awana 4-0-29-2, Piyush Chawla 4-0-32-1, Manpreet Grewal 2-0-29-0, R. Sathish 2-0-26-0.

Kings XI Punjab: Luke Pomersbach b Mohit 7 (9b, 1x4), Mandeep Singh c Raina b Mohit 15 (15b, 2x4), Shaun Marsh b Bravo 73 (51b, 8x4, 2x6), David Hussey c Bravo b Ashwin 22 (16b, 2x4, 1x6), David Miller (not out) 51 (26b, 5x4, 2x6), Gurkeerat Singh c Hussey b Bravo 0 (1b), R. Sathish lbw b Bravo 0 (1b), Manpreet Grewal (not out) 0 (1b); Extras (lb-3) 3; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 171.

Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Pomersbach), 2-36 (Mandeep), 3-73 (Hussey), 4-168 (Marsh), 5-168 (Gurkeerat), 6-171 (Sathish).

Chennai Super Kings bowling: Albie Morkel 4-0-20-0, Mohit Sharma 4-0-31-2, R. Ashwin 4-0-33-1, Chris Morris 3-0-31-0, Suresh Raina 1-0-19-0, Dwayne Bravo 4-0-34-3.

Man-of-the-match: Suresh Raina.