Great finish to the league stages, with hardly any dead rubbers towards the end. It's been very close this year, at the end of which HYD, CHN, KOL and RAJ have survived. We'll have a special Cricbuzz Live analysis show tomorrow at 6pm to talk about the playoffs. Do join us then. For now, this is Sagar Chawla signing off on behalf of Nikhil Jadhav, Akshay Maanay, Rishi Roy, Abhinand Raghavendran and our scorer Naga. Cheers!
Ngidi, MoM: Very good day out. Really didn't expect it to go that far, but will definitely take it today. Usually sub-continent stays a bit low and slow. When Chahar bowled the first over today, I couldn't stop grinning on the side. CHN is a team which really values family values. Just the cricketing mind and brain Dhoni has, it's helped me.
Dhoni, CHN captain: If you see their bowling line-up, it was definitely swinging a bit more for Ankit. From a captain's perspective, you want to take as many wickets upfront. So sending in Bhajji and Chahar creates chaos. The bowlers all of a sudden bowl yorkers and bouncers. When batsmen are batting, they stick to a good line and length, but against Bhajji and Chahar, they lose their line and lengths, instead of sticking to the plan. Plus Bhajji and Chahar could come in handy during the playoffs. Owners have been brilliant. We have a set of people who are close to the players. They have a history of understanding the game. That makes the job easy for the captain. Also if you don't have a good team, it becomes difficult. We kept adding players and they kept performing. The big shift will be after two years, where most of these players won't be there. Maybe they won't be fit for the shortest format. Looking at ten years, it has been very good for us. We like to do the process right because that's what gives you the result. There are quite a few finals where I still remember what went wrong. When the format is like this, just a couple of big hits or a run-out can change things. Everyone wants to win. They've done well to go into the knockout stages. The top two teams they get extra life. What's important is to be at your best on that particular day.
Deepak Chahar: I got my opportunity today after a long time. I have been waiting for my chances. From the first match I have liked bowling here. There is a bit of breeze blowing across. Today also it was a moving a bit in the initial stage. It is good for the confidence; getting an opportunity to bat. Now if I get a chance to bat in the playoffs I will do good for the team. I was a swing bowler basically, but have worked on my pace for the last six years. We have been waiting for this opportunity for two years and looking forward to the playoffs. He (Watson) was rested. If KOL would have lost yesterday, even I would be rested today.
R Ashwin, PUN captain: Tough days at the office. We didn't bat very well. Lost three wickets in the powerplay and from there it was going to be catch-up. Karun got us a good score but it was always 20-30 runs below par. We put down a catch. It never came together in the latter half of the tournament. We had a decent April but a horrible May. We had Ankit who swung it around in this conditions. Should've latched onto the catch, but that happens in cricket. Even in the first half we were playing in Mohali. KL and Gayle were making most of the runs but the middle-order didn't click at all which was expected, which hurt us in the latter half of the tournament. Ankit did really well, and of course KL was amazing. We have the purple cap holder in Tye as well. So loads of positives but we haven't applied ourselves. We haven't commanded any respect at all in terms of getting results on our own terms. The game against BLR costed a lot, not only in terms of run-rate but especially in terms of morale. We were not really there in terms of performance on such a day, but CHN were better today. A good team culture will help us win tournaments in the future, so I'd like to build that culture slowly in this new-look franchise and we'll look to do much better next time.
CHN found it difficult too at the start against the moving ball, but through some left-field tactics, they were able to stock up their firepower for the death. Raina bided his time initially, leaving it to the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Deepak Chahar to take the bowling on. What it did was keep the required rate well within reach in those last four overs where Raina and Dhoni launched a scathing assault to finish it off in a hurry.
23:49 Local Time, 18:19 GMT, 23:49 IST: Going in, Punjab knew the equation. They had to win this game by 53 runs or more to go into the playoffs. So to receive the liveliest pitch of the season, which turned the match into a reasonably low-scoring affair was the last thing they would've wanted. Their greatest shot at qualification - their top three - were wiped off in a matter of minutes with the new ball darting around for Ngidi and Chahar. The tall South African pacer was absolutely sensational tonight actually, on a deck resembling some of those he would've played on back home. His figures of 4/10 in four overs meant that Punjab were never going to get a huge score, even with Karun Nair's splendid fifty.
Andrew Tye [3.0-0-25-0] is back into the attack
Mohit Sharma [2.0-0-11-1] is back into the attack
Wonder how motivated PUN would be. A win would be nice of course. It's 34 needed off 18
MS Dhoni, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Ashwin to Chahar, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
PUN have failed to qualify for the playoffs after winning five out of their first six games - first time it has happened in an T20 League season.
Axar Patel [2.0-0-10-0] is back into the attack
Time-out! Looking at this as a full game, it's brilliantly poised. But obviously the playoff situation overshadows the contest aspect of it. Chahar picked to swing the ball, but sent out to swing the bat, still out there. Where is Dhoni?
The Mexican wave going around in the crowd
Andrew Tye [2.0-0-17-0] is back into the attack
Interesting tactics these from CHN. Harbhajan and Chahar in ahead of the likes of Dhoni, Jadeja, Bravo.
Deepak Chahar, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Another surprise in the batting order, Chahar
Ashwin to Harbhajan, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Ravichandran Ashwin, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
Timeout! PUN only have 48 runs left now, in which they'll have to take the remaining seven wickets if they are to make the playoffs. Quickly slipping away from them.
Andrew Tye [1.0-0-10-0] is back into the attack
Axar Patel, left-arm orthodox, comes into the attack
Mohit Sharma [1.0-0-5-1] is back into the attack
Harbhajan Singh, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Rajpoot to Billings, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Sam Billings, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Rajpoot to du Plessis, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Gayle has taken this at first slip, but he's not sure if it's a clean catch. The soft signal is out, but we have to wait for the replays. Front foot is fine and by the looks of it, he has taken it. Yes!! Wicket no. 2 down.
Andrew Tye, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Suresh Raina, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Mohit Sharma to Rayudu, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Mohit Sharma, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Rayudu and du Plessis are at the crease. Rayudu is on strike. Rajpoot will open the attack