Durban: A victory against Chennai could have provided Punjab with a safe semi final spot in the IPL. Everything went according their Punjab in the first half of the game. They restricted Chennai Super Kings to 116-9, one of the lowest total in the IPL.
Kings Punjab were hoping for a easy victory against as they walked into bat in the second section of the match. But a devastating spell by Lankan Muralitharan shattered their dreams as they succumbed to 24 run defeat against Chennai.
Magician Murali finished with 2-8 off four overs as Chennai restricted Punjab to 92-8.
Punjab will have to wait for the result of of Thursday's match between Deccan and Bangalore as the three teams now have 14 points apiece.
Murali was ably supported by off-spinners Suresh Raina (2-17) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-13). The trio conceded only 38 runs off 12 overs.
Australian Luke Pomersbach top-scored with 26 in Punjab's dismal batting display in the last match.
Punjab earlier put in an impressive bowling performance to restrict Chennai to a modest total, with fast bowlers Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan taking two wickets apiece.
Australian paceman Brett Lee also prevented the Chennai batsmen from scoring freely, conceding only 16 in his four overs.
Chennai added 40 for the opening wicket off just 4.5 overs through India's Parthiv Patel (32) and Australian George Bailey (15), but lost their way after the openers' dismissals. Raina was the other main scorer with 20.
Sreesanth got two wickets in three balls when he had Subramaniam Badrinath (four) caught by Pathan at mid-on and then bowled skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for two.
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Pathan removed New Zealander Jacob Oram (17) and Ashwin (eight) to finish with 2-32.