During Punjab Kings’ comfortable 54-run thrashing of Chennai Super Kings in an IPL encounter here on Sunday, T20 nomad Liam Livingstone justified his Rs 11.50 crore price tag with a brilliant all-round performance, whereas rookie seamer Vaibhav Arora announced his arrival on the big stage.
Livingstone’s 32-ball-60 set the tone, but the Chennai Super Kings spinners responded admirably, restricting Mayank Agarwal’s side to 180 for 8 after 20 overs. Later, Arora (4-0-21-2) of Himachal Pradesh bowled as if he owned the stage, dismissing Robin Uthappa and Moeen Ali, limiting CSK to 126 in 18 overs towards the end of the chase.
CSK’s third loss in as many games means things aren’t looking bright for the “Yellow Brigade” and its de facto skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni unless Deepak Chahar makes a rapid recovery.
A few more losses would put them under severe duress, putting them beyond the point of no return in terms of olfactory distance.
In the early stages, when his captain Agarwal knocked him back, Arora had a lot of help from his former SD College Chandigarh teammate Arshdeep Singh (2/13 in 2 games). With his three wickets, including Dhoni’s, Rahul Chahar (3/25 in 4 overs) kept the bottom 10 in check. Except for the rare suggestion of seam motion, Arora doesn’t do anything special.
MS Dhoni and Shivam Dube stitched a 62-run stand to steady the ship and keep CSK in the hunt, with the former scoring a magnificent counter-attacking effort. Dube struck 57 from just 30 balls, including three sixes and six boundaries, but he fell in the sixteenth over to PBKS leg-spinner Liam Livingstone, who had also excelled with the guess on Sunday.
Gavaskar stated that even the best hitters find uphill chases difficult, pointing out that Dhoni could have performed better if he had kept the strike moving during his partnership with Dube.
After getting caught down the leg in Rahul Chahar’s over, Dhoni was reeling at 10 off 20 balls and finished with 23 off 28.
CSK led 5-36 when Dhoni (23 off 28 balls) joined Shivam Dube, who wowed the Brabourne crowd with a powerful knock, but it was always a catch-up game for them.
Dhoni’s well-documented troubles don’t help CSK, as Dube has a lot to do in a short amount of time.
Livingstone capped off a good day by dismissing Dube with an away delivery before diving full-throttle on his own bowling to dismiss Bravo.
Livingstone was one of the most lethal T20 batsmen in the world before his ball exploits, finishing with five fours and an equal number of sixes to give the ball in the first round. The CSK bowlers are on the lookout for leather.
Ravindra Jadeja had a huge smile on his face earlier in the evening after winning his first Toss as captain and electing to bowl. In place of Tushar Deshpande, Jadeja made one change: Chris Jordan was given his CSK debut. Vaibhav Arora and Jitesh Sharma, who replaced Harpreet Brar and Raj Bawa, made their IPL debuts for PBKS in the meantime.
CSK got off to a flying start when Mukesh Choudhary took his first IPL wicket, dismissing Mayank Agarwal (4) with his second ball of the game. MS Dhoni’s smart thinking quickly increased the lead in the next over.