Saturday, 10 June, 2023

Raza helps Punjab down Chennai in last-ball IPL thriller

Raza helps Punjab down Chennai in last-ball IPL thriller

Zimbabwe batsman Sikandar Raza helped Punjab Kings pull off a stunning chase to edge out Chennai Super Kings by four wickets in a last-ball Indian Premier League thriller on Sunday.

Chasing 201 for victory, Liam Livingstone (40), Sam Curran (29) and Jitesh Sharma (21) played attacking cameos before Pakistan-born Raza sealed the win with his unbeaten 13 in Chennai.

Sri Lanka fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana was tasked with bowling the final over, with Punjab needing nine to win. Raza got three runs off the final ball, his arms outstretched in celebration.

Punjab moved to fifth in the 10-team table, one below Chennai. Holders Gujarat Titans top the standings.

Devon Conway's 92 off 52 balls proved to be in vain after the left-handed New Zealand opener steered Chennai to 200-4, having elected to bat first.

Livingstone and the left-handed Curran, who became the most expensive player in the tournament's history at $2.23 million, revived the chase after Punjab fell to 94-3.

They put on 57 off 33 balls before Livingstone departed and Curran was bowled by Pathirana, called "Baby Malinga" for a slinging action similar to that of countryman Lasith Malinga.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jitesh took Punjab closer in his 10-ball blitz before he fell to Tushar Deshpande, who took three wickets, but Raza held firm.

Punjab skipper Shikhar Dhawan (28) and opening partner Prabhsimran Singh (42) got the chase going in a quickfire 50-run stand but the team wobbled once the two departed.

Earlier, Conway laid the foundations of Chennai's total in an 86-run opening stand with Ruturaj Gaikwad.

He reached his fifty -- his fifth in the last six innings -- in 30 balls with a boundary off Raza as he put up another attacking stand with Shivam Dube, who hit 28.

But it was skipper M.S. Dhoni's sixes off the final two balls bowled by Curran that brought the house down at the Chepauk stadium, as the old warhorse dispatched the ball over backward point and then a pull over deep mid-wicket.

The season is likely to be Dhoni's last as a player for the four-time champions and the superstar cricketer is getting a rousing reception at every venue, with many fans turning up in Chennai's yellow to cheer him on.