IPL

Record Watson and Du Plessis stand kick-starts Super Kings' IPL season

By Sports Desk October 04, 2020

Chennai Super Kings kick-started their 2020 Indian Premier League season on Sunday, as a record-breaking partnership from Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson secured an emphatic 10-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab. 

Kings XI enjoyed a reasonably strong start, but ultimately their total of 178-4 was nowhere near enough to put off Du Plessis and Watson, who set a new franchise record for the highest ever partnership, as they finished on 181-0. 

Chennai had suffered three successive defeats heading into the match and their opponents – led by KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal – gave every indication that it could be another tough outing. 

However, they failed to build on the early promise and a late burst never arrived, as captain Rahul edged behind for 63 straight after Nicholas Pooran – whose 33 off 17 indicated a little more urgency – was dismissed in the same Shardul Thakur over. 

While a little slow to get going, Du Plessis (87 not out) found his groove and toyed with Chris Jordan, hitting him for four fours in the space of five balls. 

Watson, who finished up unbeaten on 83, was clearly in the mood too, reaching his half-century in 31 balls – two quicker than his partner – as the Kings XI attack had no answer. 

Their 181-run alliance makes it the second-highest target chased down without losing a wicket in IPL history, with the Kings XI replacing them at the foot of the table.

AN EMPHATIC RESPONSE FROM WATSON 

Watson and Du Plessis were deadly here, swatting away all the Kings XI bowlers could throw at them, and they secured the handsome victory with 14 balls to spare. 

It was a particularly applaudable performance from Watson, whose four previous innings (1, 14, 33 and 4) had attracted criticism – there will be none of that here. 

"I felt like something that been slightly off, technically," he said in the post-match presentation ceremony. "So, it was nice for it to come off. It was just a combination of technique and intent. I was able to get the weight through the ball a lot better." 

ANOTHER DIFFICULT DAY 

It has been a poor start for Kings XI, who are left bottom of the IPL having lost four of five matches, and it is arguable that they paid the price for failing to push on in the second half of their innings. 

Rahul was 46 off 44 in the 15th over, and while the partnership of Watson and Du Plessis would have made it a tall order to get the better of the Super Kings anyway, a more aggressive mentality might have made the difference. 

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