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Watson, Du Plessis destroy Punjab with 181-run opening wicket stand

An embattling Shane Watson repaid the faith team has put in him playing a crucial role in Chennai Super Kings’ crushing 10-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.

Watson was going through a string of low scores, a poor run in which Chennai itself slumped to three consecutive defeats, but came back strong in the fifth match with a half century.

At the Dubai International Stadium, KL Rahul’s purple patch continued as the skipper scored another half century before Chennai clawed back in the last three overs to restrict Punjab to 178-4 in 20 overs. Chennai got their best ever start in IPL through Watson and Faf du Plessis reaching 181 without loss in 17.4 overs.

Faf Du Plessis scoops Chris Jordan, one of his 11 boundaries against Kings XI Punjab.

The Aussie-South African duo brought the hundred partnership inside 10 overs to mentally destroy Punjab bowling attack. Chris Jordan, playing his first match of the tournament and celebrating his 32nd birthday, was smashed for 42 runs alone in three overs.

Du Plessis brought his third half century in the tournament to make 87 off 53 with 11 fours and a six. Watson struck 83 off 53 with 11 fours and three sixes. It was the second highest chase in IPL history completed by opening batsmen.

Chennai heaved a sigh of relief following Sunday’s crushing victory, their second in the tournament. Punjab have been impressive with the bat but have failed in defense losing their fourth match in the tournament and stay at the bottom of the table.

Chennai were seemingly heading for another big chase when Nicholas Pooran and Rahul were beginning to build the scores at 152-2 in 17 overs. But Shardul Thakur dismissed both set batsmen in his first two deliveries as the three-time defending champions conceded only 26 runs in last three overs.

All Shane Watson needed was a morale-boosting innings and this was one. PHOTO: BCCI/IPL

Rahul had once again given Punjab a solid start with 61-run partnership for the first wicket and 33 for the second with Mandeep Singh (27 off 16). Pooran and Rahul added another 58 runs before Chennai stemmed the run flow.

Rahul scored 63 from 52 with seven fours and a six. Puran 17-ball 33 included three sixes and a four.

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