A one-two combination punch by Kings XI Punjab pacers and skipper Adam Gilchrist Chennai Super Kings as they suffered an upset 6-wicket lose here today.
Returning to the team after a brief lay-off due to a hamstring injury, Gilchrist led Kings XI from the front snapping fours catches and then guiding the home team's chase with an unbeaten 64-run knock that came off just 46 balls and keep alive his team's chances of advancing to the playoffs.
Chasing a paltry 120 for seven set by CSK, Kings XI rode on Gilchrist's whirlwind innings to romp home with 21 balls to spare.
Apart from Gilchrist, Mandeep Singh (24 off 21) made an useful contribution at the top.
For CSK, Dwayne Bravo picked up two wickets for 18 runs, while Ben Hilfenhaus (1/20) and Albie Morkel (1/28) scalped one apiece.
With this defeat CSK have ended their league engagements with 17 points from 16 games and will have to wait for the results of the remaining league games to know their fate.
Kings XI, on the other hand, will have to win their last game against table toppers Delhi Daredevils here on Saturday to stay in the hunt. Kings XI Punjab's win means Kolkata have qualified for the play-offs since no other team can surpass their 19 points except Mumbai Indians.
Gilchrist and Mandeep gave a flying start to Kings XI's run chase, sharing 51 runs off 41 balls for the opening stand before two quick wickets brought CSK back into the game.
Mandeep was the first to depart, bowled by Morkel in the seventh over. CSK struck again an over later when Bravo had Nitin Saini, caught by wicket-keeper Dhoni.
Bravo scalped his second victim of the day soon in the form of in-form David Hussey, who scored a run-a-ball nine, before top-edging a bouncy delivery to Dhoni.
Gilchrist seemed in ominous form and together with Siddharth Chitnis (11) added quickfire 45 runs off 29 balls for the fourth wicket to bring Kings XI on the verge of win. Gilchrist displayed his complete array of shots and took Yo Mahesh for special treatment, smashing the bowler for two fours and as many sixes to score 22 runs off the 15th over.
Even though Hilfenhaus dismissed Chitnis in the next over, victory was just a formality for Kings XI from there on and Gilchrist ensured it without any further damage in the company of Azhar Mahmood (9).
Earlier, KXIP restricted defending champions Chennai Super Kings to 120 for seven.
Kings XI pacers were right on the money from the time Gilchrist won the toss and elected to bowl and picked up wickets at regular intervals.
On a bouncy HPCA Stadium pitch, Praveen Kumar (2/18), Parvinder Awana (2/12) and Azhar Mahmood (2/28) shared six wickets between them, while Ryan Harris (1/24) accounted for the other CSK batsman.
Kings XI Punjab players celebrate the fall of a CSK wicket. Pic/AFP
Dwayne Bravo played an important 43-ball 46-run knock in the middle, during which he struck two fours and three sixes, to take CSK to the 120-run mark after the visitors lost half of their side for just 78 runs in the 16th over.
Sent into bat, CSK lost both their openers -- Murali Vijay (10) and Mike Hussey -- early. Praveen Kumar accounted for both the batsmen in consecutive overs in identical fashion. Both Vijay and Hussey edged simple catches to Gilchrist.
Suresh Raina (17 off 13), soon after his arrival, got a life when Chawla dropped a regulation catch at the first slip off Praveen in the seventh over. The missed chance proved a little costly for Kings XI as Raina clobbered Mahmood for back-to-back sixes in the next over before the bowler took his revenge a ball later. Much to the relief of Chawla, Raina's short-little burst came to an end when he edged Mahmood to Gilchrist.
CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also failed to live up to his reputation and was dismissed for six, caught by Nitin Saini at third man off Awana as CSK slumped to 46 for four.
Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja (13) tried hard to resurrect the CSK innings with a 32-run fifth wicket stand before the later was sent packing by Awana.
Bravo was instrumental in another crucial partnership, a 34-run sixth-wicket stand with Albie Morkel (14 off 8) to help CSK's cause to some extent.