England’s Liam Livingstone smashed 60 and took two wickets to lead Punjab Kings to an emphatic 54-run win over Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Livingstone, who became the most expensive overseas player in this season’s IPL auction when Punjab bought the batting all-rounder for $1.52 million, guided his team to 180 for eight in Mumbai.
He then took two wickets with his spin, including a key scalp of Shivam Dube, who hit 57, as Punjab bowled out Chennai for 126 in 18 overs.
“The first two games didn’t go my way, but (it’s) nice to contribute to a win,” said man-of-the-match Livingstone.
“We got to a target we thought was defendable and the seam bowers set it up for us.”
It was the third successive loss for holders Chennai — four-time IPL winners — in this season’s Twenty20 tournament.
“I think we lost too many wickets in the powerplay and didn’t find momentum from ball one,” said new Chennai skipper Ravindra Jadeja.
“We will try our level best. Work hard and comeback stronger.”
Livingstone’s attacking batting set up victory for Punjab as he smashed five fours and five sixes in his 32-ball knock and put on 95 runs with Shikhar Dhawan, who made 33, for the third wicket.
Livingstone, who hit England’s fastest T20 century in 42 balls in a game against Pakistan last year, smashed Chennai left-arm medium Mukesh Choudhary for the biggest six of the tournament so far at 108 metres.
He reached his maiden IPL fifty with a six off Chennai veteran Dwayne Bravo but soon got out to Jadeja’s left-arm spin.
Jitesh Sharma hit a 17-ball 26 before bowlers checked the batting surge in the final few overs but the total proved enough for Punjab’s second victory in three matches.
Punjab bowlers came out roaring and reduced Chennai to 36-5 with Moeen Ali out for a duck.
Dube attempted to put the chase back on track with his 26-ball 50 and a 62-run partnership with MS Dhoni, who made 23 off 28 balls, but Livingstone, who can bowl off and leg spin, broke through.
He got Dube out with a googly and then took a stunning catch off his own bowling to send back Bravo for nought and the wheels came of the chase.
“I play my own way and I struggled a bit with Rajasthan (last season) as well. Hopefully, this (performance) will bring some confidence,” said Livingstone. “Bowling is something I really enjoy and I keep practicing.”
In the only match on Monday, Lucknow Super Giants, one of the two franchises added to the expanded 10-team IPL, take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium.