Team Punjab hardly broke a sweat to beat Team Chennai in the 53rd match of the 2021 Indian T20 League.
Chennai, who were sent to bat first by toss-winning captain KL Rahul, scored 134/6 in 20 overs, with Faf du Plessis scoring 76 runs off 55 deliveries. The South African's effort was overshadowed by KL Rahul's blistering knock of 98* off just 42 balls. The Punjab captain hit seven fours and eight sixes, meaning that almost 78 per cent of his runs came through boundaries and sixes.
"Good opportunity always to play the Indian T20 League," said Aiden Markram after the match. "Rahul's done something quite special tonight. The team went crazy behind the scenes with every shot."
Punjab have moved to the fifth spot in the points table for the time being. As things stand, they are heavily reliant on the likes of Kolkata and Mumbai to qualify for the playoffs. First, they need Kolkata to lose with a big margin (of around 70 runs) and hope Mumbai lose their match tomorrow. Punjab's job here is done as they have finished their season with 12 points. It's the fourth consecutive season where they have finished on 12 points.
As for Chennai, it's their third consecutive loss in the league stage. The momentum has well and truly shifted, something that might affect their performance in the playoffs.
Here's how the match panned out:
That strike rate though!
That's all Punjab can do
SIX! That's the winning shot
Going... Going... and gone!
What an innings by KL Rahul there. Has to be one of the finest innings in the shortest format. He hammers Shardul Thakur over deep midwicket and while it's a six, Rahul misses his century with just two runs.
Punjab beat Chennai by six wickets.
FOUR! Horrible day for the birthday boy
A delivery outside off is flicked towards long-on and Bravo misses an easy take as the ball clears the rope.
WICKET! End of Aiden Markram's innings
Shardul Thakur picks his third wicket of the innings. Markram was looking to finish it off early with a drive through the cover. He misjudged the bounce and catches an outside edge. MS Dhoni takes the catch and that's the end of the South African's evening.
SIX! What a shot
Lovely wrist work from KL Rahul there. Absolute artistry. He flicks a low full-toss of Dwayne Bravo at fine leg to hit his sixth six of the innings.
Just 14 runs needed off 51 balls. Will be over sooner than you expected.
Hundred comes up for Punjab...
What a way to cross the 100-run mark. KL Rahul just smashes Deepak Chahar over his head as the ball travels 101m. Chahar is now bowling at an economy of over 12 now.
14 runs came from that over, including two extras.
Punjab: 106/3 after 11 overs.