Lungi Ngidi starred with the ball © IANS
Lungi Ngidi starred with the ball © IANS

With Mumbai Indians (MI) eliminated from VIVO IPL 2018, Rajasthan Royals (RR) seem to be the likelier of the two sides for the fourth Playoffs slot. However, Kings XI Punjab, languishing at the seventh spot with 12 points, have an outside chance in the last league game versus Chennai Super Kings (CSK). In Match 56, CSK opted to bowl first and bowled KXIP out for 153. For KXIP to go ahead of RR, they need to beat CSK by 53 or more runs to join CSK, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Playoffs. CSK, on the other hand, need to chase down the target inside 17.3 overs to finish as table toppers.

CSK struck early, getting rid of Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch and the in-form KL Rahul in no time. There was a tinge of grass on the surface, and Lungi Ngidi and Deepak Chahar made the most of it. Gayle walked to a caught-behind down leg. Chahar found the edge of Finch, and Suresh Raina held onto a low catch. Ngidi trapped Rahul by bowling a few outswingers before getting one to shape in. As a result, Rahul offered no shot and saw his stumps disturbed. They were left reeling at 16 for 3.

Manoj Tiwary and David Miller led the rearguard action. They worked the ball around, and upped the ante by taking on Harbhajan Singh. Then Shardul Thakur conceded only 5 off the 11th over. Perhaps anticipating a desperate slog, MS Dhoni summoned Ravindra Jadeja; Tiwary fell to a thick edge. Miller was yorked by Bravo shortly afterwards.

The onus shifted to Karun Nair, and he rose to the challenge. He smashed Thakur all over the ground in the 17th over. From there, KXIP added only 22. Nair’s fifty took them past 150.

Note: Ngidi’s 4-0-10-4 is now the best overseas figure from CSK.

Brief scores:

Kings XI Punjab 153 in 19.4 overs (Manoj Tiwary 35, David Miller 24, Karun Nair 54; Lungi Ngidi 4 for 10, Dwayne Bravo 2 for 39, Shardul Thakur 2 for 33, Deepak Chahar 1 for 30) vs Chennai Super Kings