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Liam Livingstone stuns Chennai as champions succumb to third consecutive defeat


Liam Livingstone put in a superb all-round performance as defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK)’s worst start to an Indian Premier League (IPL) season continued with their third consecutive defeat in 2022, this time a 54 point loss to Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Sunday 3 April.

Livingstone crushed 60 from just 32 balls to help PBKS overcome a shaky start and post a dominating 180/8 tally at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. The all-rounder then posted numbers of 3-0-25-2 before taking the last hold of the match to cap off a player of the match performance.

The loss extends the worst start to an IPL season for CSK as the defending champions are yet to taste victory after three games while sending PBKS to fourth in the points table with two wins from three games.

CSK’s chase got off to a horrific start as the dismal form of last season’s orange cap winner Ruturaj Gaikwad continued. Gaikwad (1) edged a delivery from Kagiso Rabada on the first slip to come back on the 2nd.

Vaibhav Arora, who sparked a bidding war between his previous franchise KKR and PBKS at the auction before being picked up for Rs 2 Crore, then announced himself on the big stage at the next class.

Arora, who was swinging the ball back and forth, fired Robin Uthappa (13) in the 3rd and returned to Castle Moeen Ali (0) on a duck in the 5th. The 24-year-old from Himachal Pradesh trotted four to finish with numbers of 4-0-21-2 on his IPL debut.

Meanwhile, things got worse for Chennai as Arshdeep Singh fired Ravindra Jadeja on a duck with the CSK skipper clipping a long ball over the stumps as his side limped to 27/4 on the power play.

Odean Smith entered the attack in the 8th and struck with his 3rd delivery as Rayudu (13 from 21 balls) looked to throw a short delivery but saw the ball bounce off his gloves with fellow debutant Jitesh Sharma taking a superb diving socket behind the counters.

MS Dhoni and Shivam Dube assembled a 62-point stand to provide some hope, but their feeble ambitions were ruthlessly destroyed by Livingstone in the 15th. Dube (57 from 30 balls) cut the 5th ball to the short third man and Livingstone then took a spectacular one-handed diving hold to get rid of Bravo on a duck on his next delivery.

Rahul Chahar netted a well-deserved wicket when he got rid of Dwaine Pretorius (8) in the next innings to leave CSK reeling at 107/8. Chahar then got rid of Dhoni (23 from 28 balls) and Chris Jordan (5) in the 18th to end the match with an impressive 3/25.

Earlier in the evening, Ravindra Jadeja flashed a big smile after winning his first draw as captain and opting to go bowling. Jadeja has made a switch with Chris Jordan making his CSK debut, replacing Tushar Deshpande. PBKS meanwhile handed the IPL debut to Vaibhav Arora and Jitesh Sharma who replaced Harpreet Brar and Raj Bawa.

Mukesh Choudhary gave CSK the perfect start when they clinched their first IPL wicket, getting rid of Mayank Agarwal (4) on the 2nd delivery of the match. The advantage was quickly doubled in the next round, thanks to the classic quick-wittedness of MS Dhoni.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa fired Jordan for six on the 1st fly and perished looking to steal a single on the next delivery. Jordan latched on to the ball in a flash and missed his throw, but Dhoni came sprinting to collect the ball and toss it under the arms while diving forward to catch Rajapaksa (9).

However, Liam Livingstone eventually came to the party as he helped PBKS recover from this rocky start. The Englishman smashed Choudhary for 26 in the 5th and Shikhar Dhawan pulled 15 off DJ Bravo on the next over to help PBKS post the season’s second-best Power score of 72/2.

Livingstone was given two reprieves as Ambati Rayudu dropped a keeper to third man court and MS Dhoni’s diving hold hit the ground on the way down and was ruled not knocked out by the TV referee. The all-rounder took full advantage of those opportunities by raising his first IPL fifty with just 27 balls.

Bravo finally broke the third wicket for 95 by getting rid of Dhawan (33 from 24 balls) in the 10th and CSK captain Jadeja then got rid of Livingstone (60 from 32 balls) in the following course with Rayudu not doing error to the little third man on this occasion.

Jitesh Sharma, 28, who was picked up for his base price of Rs 20 Lakh, looked lively on his IPL debut as he hit six against Moeen Ali, Choudhary and Jadeja. The Vidarbha wicket-striker scored 26 of 17 before falling prey to Dwayne Pretorius in an ambitious reverse scoop attempt.

Punjab then suffered a late-inning slump as Jordan struck twice to get rid of both Shahrukh Khan (6) and Odean Smith (3) who didn’t add much to the tally. Rahul Chahar (12) hit some boundaries before falling to Pretorius who grabbed his second of the night. Meanwhile, Rabada went unbeaten on 12 as Punjab posted a dominating 180/8 aggregate.

First post: STI


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