It’s like a CSK from an earlier time. If you’ve watched them struggle at the top, watched that required rate shoot to 15 and beyond in their run-chases, watched them crash to the bottom of the table, then this is the performance where things start making sense again. Today the opening pair of Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis came out searching for redemption. And they found it in some style. Dhoni had complained of slow starts previously which were pulling the team back. None of that today. Kings XI were denied a wicket in the powerplay for the first time in the tournament, after which they rarely looked like picking one as Watson and du Plessis went from strength to strength. Eventually they finished with the highest opening partnership for CSK in IPL history.

Highest opening partnerships in 10-wicket wins (IPL):
184 G Gambhir – C Lynn KKR v GL Rajkot 2017
181 S Watson – F du Plessis v KXIP Dubai 2020
163 S Tendulkar – Dwayne Smith MI v RR Jaipur 2012
155 A Gilchrist – VVS Laxman Deccan v MI Mumbai DYP 2008

KL Rahul: It’s hard being on the losing side for so many games on the trot. We need to come back harder and better. There’s no rocket science where we are going wrong, it’s the execution. When we started batting, the wicket did stop a bit and when the spinners came in there was some grip and turn. If we don’t get wickets of the class of Watson and du Plessis, we are in trouble. It’s a bit hard to attack as a captain when they are going at 10 runs an over in the powerplay. They are all professional players, so we can expect them to come back better. We need to keep training harder, practising and try to win the key moments in the game. Hopefully we’ll be able to bounce back.

Dhoni: Did the small things right. Believed in the process. Were looking for the kind of start today. That’s where experience counts. It’s not about being more aggressive. Watson was looking good in the nets. But what you want is to replicate that. It was just a matter of time that he gets going. Faf is like a sheet anchor for us. He can always confuse the bowlers with shots like the lap shot. They compliment each other well. Fleming doesn’t get the kind of recognition he should. The good thing between us is that we decide each and every thing between us. It’s not like we don’t have debates over selections. But it stays between us. Felt the bowlers did a very good job. Felt we bowled according to what our plan was. Momentum with the right kind of shots – I felt Watto and Faf backed themselves to play the shots they’re known for. It was very good to watch them out there.

Shane Watson is the man of the match.

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