Dhoni takes CSK to 160/3 after Ashwin picks three

Chennai: It looked like smooth sailing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) with the score reading 98/1 in the 13th over. But Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) skipper Ravichandran Ashwin had other ideas as he picked up two wickets in the 14th over to put the brakes on CSK during their Indian Premier League match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday.

In the end, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (37* off 23 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (21* off 15 balls) finished with a flourish as CSK made 160/3 in 20 overs.

Ashwin was the star with the ball as he picked up all the three wickets that fell to finish with figures of 3/23 from his four overs. While his strikes stemmed the flow of runs, CSK scored 52 runs in the last five overs with Dhoni finishing well along with Rayudu.

Calling correctly, CSK started well with Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis looking to take on the Punjab bowlers. While Watson looked to attack from the word go, du Plessis looked to settle down before taking the attack to the opposition. After all, the Proteas skipper was playing his first match in this year’s IPL.

CSK looked comfortably placed, having scored 54 runs in the Powerplay without losing a wicket. But Ashwin broke the opening stand when he sent back Watson, caught by Sam Curran, for 26. Playing across the line to a carrom ball, Watson holed out to Curran in the deep with the scoreboard reading 56/1 in the 8th over.

Du Plessis looked to continue the good work with Suresh Raina as the two looked to pick the ones and twos with the field spreading out. CSK ended the 10th over with the score on 71 and du Plessis batting on 34 off 25 balls.

With spinners bowling from both sides, du Plessis looked to deal in sixes, but it was Ashwin who had the last laugh as he sent back du Plessis (54 off 38 balls) with another carrom ball.

Raina too followed suit when he tried to slog sweep an in-form Ashwin, only to miss the ball and see his stumps get rattled. With Raina gone for 17 in the 14th over, it was left to Dhoni and Rayudu to first consolidate and then finish well.

Brief Scores: CSK 160/3 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 54, M.S. Dhoni 37*; R. Ashwin 3/23)