The MS Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings have clearly no memory of their horrible campaign in the IPL in 2020, as they began the second leg this year with a hat-trick of wins, the last coming in a closely fought contest against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Ravindra Jadeja played a very crucial hand with both bat and ball as CSK edged out KKR in a thrilling contest by 2 wickets. KKR had posted 171/6 and CSK managed to reach the finish line only off the last ball after they lost Jadeja and Sam Curran in the final over off Narine before Deepak Chahar put the seal on the win.
KKR were looking to start off at good pace yet again and started off with a 10-run over, but also lost Shubman Gill’s (9) wicket off a run-out. An in-form Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi took the attack to CSK’s bowlers after that as KKR looked to make the powerplay count.
The duo put on 40 in four overs with Iyer and Tripathi, both finding the boundaries with relative ease during the restrictions. Iyer however could not continue with his good run of scores and was caught behind for 18 by MS Dhoni off Shardul Thakur, who ended the powerplay with a maiden-wicket over.
Tripathi continued to attack at his end and was joined by Eoin Morgan. The skipper though wasn’t able to get going, continuing to suffer from a dip in form, and was smartly caught by Faf du Plessis in the deep for 8 off 14 deliveries off Josh Hazlewood.
After the powerplay, CSK were successful in applying the brakes on KKR with Ravindra Jadeja doing a fair amount of damage with a spell of 1/21 in 4 overs. He rounded it off with the scalp of Tripathi, who’s attempted reverse sweep didn’t work out and Jadeja knocked over the stumps. Tripathi was dismissed for 45, leaving Nitish Rana to be joined by Andre Russell with the score at 89/4 in the 13th over.
Russell smashed a couple of boundaries and a six and looked set to go big in the slog overs before Shardul cleaned him up in the 17th over for 20.
At the other end, Rana chipped away as KKR looked to get as close to a total in the region of 170 runs. With Dinesh Karthik for company, Rana and KKR were able to up the scoring rate in the slog overs.
The duo put on 41 before Karthik’s (26) outside edge was comfortably caught by MSD off Hazlewood in the final over. Sunil Narine and Rana were eventually able to take KKR to 171/6 with the Indian finishing unbeaten on 37.
In response, CSK’s openers started off in fine fashion with Ruturaj Gaikwad and du Plessis making batting look easy. Faf hit 7 boundaries while Gaikwad, who has been in sublime form in UAE, hit a couple of fours and three sixes during his knock.
Gaikwad and Faf not only stayed with the required run rate through the powerplay but also played flawlessly till almost the half-way stage of the innings.
The openers put on 74 runs, having played just over 8 overs, paving the way for a comfortable second half in the chase, or so it seemed for CSK, who were eyeing top spot on the night.
Gaikwad was the first to depart as he was caught sharply by Morgan off Russell for 40, right after he had smashed the bowler of his head for a six.
A few overs later, Faf followed his partner back to the pavilion, having scored 43 as he was well caught in the deep by Lockie Ferguson off Prasidh Krishna.
Moeen Ali and Ambati Rayudu kept chipping away at the target before the right hander tried to take Sunil Narine downtown and saw his woodwork disturbed by the spinner. Rayudu scored 10 and was dismissed with the score at 119/3.
Moeen and Suresh Raina then battled through the next couple of overs as KKR’s bowlers looked to stop the big hits. The duo put on 19 before Moeen’s attempted big hit over long on was not powerful enough. He was caught by Iyer in the deep off Ferguson for 32 off 28 in the 17th over.
CSK captain MSD then joined Raina in the middle with KKR’s Russell struggling with a muscle injury as well. The batters though could not manage to much damage with Raina runout for 11 in the next over.
A couple of deliveries later, a googly by Varun Chakravarthy bamboozled MSD and his woodwork was knocked over for 1 as CSK were in a spot of bother.
Jadeja, who had a good time with the ball earlier, then took charge for CSK again in the 19th over, hammering Krishna for a couple of sixes and two fours.
With 4 runs needed off the final over, KKR struck as Sam Curran was dismissed by Sunil Narine for 4 off the first delivery. Narine then dismissed Jadeja too, trapped LBW for 28 with scores tied and a ball to go.
Deepak Chahar hit the winning runs off the final ball of the game.
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