Harbhajan Singh was named man-of-the-match after his double wicket maiden scripted a 22-run win for Chennai Super Kings over Kings XI Punjab on Friday. Harbhajan removed Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal in his first over to rock KXIP’s chase of 161 early in their innings. | CSK vs KXIP – Match report |
KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan shared a 110-run stand but the early losses meant the two batsmen were under pressure to keep up the tempo against a top-quality spin attack.
Harbhajan Singh was MS Dhoni’s trump card against Chris Gayle, the most dangerous batsman in T20 cricket. Gayle is the fastest man to reach 4000 IPL runs and the only player to hit 300 sixes in the IPL. On Saturday, he could well have been the difference between both sides in a steep chase on a tricky pitch.
But MS Dhoni, one of the sharpest minds in the cricket world, knew he could challenge Gayle with a quality off-spinner and he brought Harbhajan Singh on in the second over of the KXIP innings.
And Harbhajan Singh was happy to see his plan work – he got Gayle and also the talented Mayank Agarwal in a sensational over.
“We always have a plan in T20 cricket and sometimes it comes off and sometimes it does not. We know Chris Gayle is someone who goes very hard at the top and can take the game forward. It was important for us to take his wicket (early) and it was nice to get his wicket in the first over and nice to get another one as well,” Harbhajan Singh told the broadcasters after picking up his second man-of-the-match award this season.
“Mayank is a very, very good youngster who has played for India just now and he has been scoring a lot of runs. It’s nice to go out there and perform for the team and I am happy,” he said.
Harbhajan Singh said he was glad his plan against Chris Gayle worked because T20 was is kind of format where plans can go awry very quickly.
“I was just looking to bowl a little slower to Chris Gayle. The first couple of balls, I tried to push them in the air but it didn’t spin but the third or fourth ball I tried to give it a rip and it spun. That’s when it got in my mind that if I had to bowl slower to him, I had to bowl slow and wide
“This is T20 and it could have gone either way… I am glad I am here talking to you and got the man-of-the-match award,” he said.
In the season opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 23, Harbhajan Singh had dismissed Virat Kohli, Moeen Ali and AB de Villiers to trigger a collapse for the visitors at the Chepauk. RCB folded for 70 in 17.1 overs as CSK won by 7 wickets.