Rahul blitz puts Punjab in playoff race

What is the batting pitch of KL Rahul? Obviously, not the rest of the batsmen on both teams. He also showed why in-form Shikhar Dhawan has no place in the Indian team with his blistering stroke play.

He hit the Chennai Super Kings bowlers through the washer, hitting, lifting, sculpting, dragging and turning. They washed and dried them, jumping Punjab at their net run rate and drying them in some style in the hope that Kolkata and Mumbai would lose their matches.

Rahul Boss

This is the fifth time KL Rahul has reached fifty in 25 or fewer deliveries. This is the first time Josh Hazelwood has appeared as a pedestrian despite touching his normal areas. He scored against Rajasthan Royals, but he bowled in a very short time. In this game, he got the length right but Rahul is gunning for him. He left an ugly bruise on his forehead, especially after being hit on the helmet in the second over by Hazelwood.

That was the only moment Hazlewood won. In his next over, fourth in the chase, Rahul crashed directly on either side of the boundary. And then for some sort, he killed a small ball on the midwicket boundary. The other was Hazlewood going for a long-off boundary in the next over.

However, he was not biased against any bowler. Before he could remove Hazlewood, he was serious about Deepak Chahar, pulling and lifting on the covers.
Dhoni looked to Shardul Thakur who took two quick wickets for some relief. No luck. A whip whip sent a six over the square-leg and a dreamy back-foot punch bounced the ball into the cover-point boundary.

Chahar returned hoping for good luck. Instead, Rahul moved towards the off stump, bent over and bowed to the fine-leg boundary. By the end of that ninth over, Punjab were 80 for 3.

Another six by Chahar forced Dhoni to bring in Bravo. The 12th over gave two more sixes and the first Bravo humorously hunched on his knees. Rahul shuffled off and hit the trying yorker on the back square-leg. In the next over, he hit a four and a six off Thakur.

Faf du Plessis showed what was possible on the pitch in the last three overs after a painstaking effort from the batting unit as a whole. Thirty-eight runs came in the last three as Du Plessis drove and confused the bowlers. It was too late for Chennai but Rahul looked enough to know what to do when it was his turn.

There was a beautiful moment at last between Rahul and Hazlewood. As Rahul was leaving after the match, Hazlewood was caught chatting with him. Apparently, he is asking about the pitch as he is gesturing to Rahul the skidy bounce nature from the track. Hazlewood folded his blue hand towel and nodded in agreement. In one movie, the towel color was symbolic white.

Chennai faltered

In the last three games, CSK have definitely lost their way. Some questionable decisions also contributed to it. Against Rajasthan, after 189, the bowlers were surprisingly short with the new ball and were killed by the successful Jaiswal and Lewis. The match ended in a power play, especially as Dhoni did not use Ravindra Jadeja much. In their last game, Dhoni promoted himself earlier than Jadeja in form and worked hard for a sub-equal amount. He added trouble by not using Bravo on a tacky pitch suitable for him, until the end when Bravo almost removed a small miracle. And even in this game, Dhoni has taken himself forward without much success. And used Jadeja for just one over as opposed to Punjab who used eight tight overs. The time is near for a strategic restructuring of the Chennai camp, while Punjab is looking forward to other teams trips.



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