The MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai finally hosted a game after a long time as Chennai Super Kings returned to their den to face Kolkata Knight Riders. There was a massive turnout to witness the CSK lions back at the Chepauk and the Men in Yellow didn’t disappoint the crowd.
It was MS Dhoni who won the toss and opted to bat second. The wonder-boy Sunil Narine began in his usual demeanor and struck a couple of sixes in the very first over. But the introduction of Harbhajan Singh in the 2nd over led to his downfall. Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa kept the scoring rate high but as Lynn threatened to explode, he was castled by Ravindra Jadeja for 18.
Uthappa carried on and the score reached 64/2 after 6 overs. Nitish Rana played a few good strokes but Shane Watson sent him back for 16 in the 9th over. Uthappa became a victim of the brilliance of Suresh Raina who ran him out for 29 courtesy a direct hit. Rinku Singh didn’t last long and fell prey to Shardul Thakur as the score reached 89/5 at the halfway stage.
Andre Russell in his beast mode
The skipper Dinesh Karthik was joined by Andre Russell and the duo steadied the ship and helped the side recover from the struggling times. After 15 overs, the score read 123/5 and that’s when Andre Russell went absolutely berserk. He was hitting sixes for fun in the every over that followed.
Even a specialist death bowler like Dwayne Bravo wasn’t spared as he was blasted for 3 sixes in the 19th over. While Karthik left him, it didn’t matter to Russell as the onslaught continued. At one stage, what looked like an innings ending around 175, went past 200. Russell’s unbeaten 88 off just 36 balls took KKR to 202/6 at the end of 20 overs.
CSK’s brisk start
The CSK openers were on a mission of taking full toll of the fielding restrictions. Shane Watson began with a six and 2 fours in the first over. Ambati Rayudu joined in the act and struck a few big hits. In no time, the fifty was up and the score read 53 after 4 overs. Watson was going hammer and tongs and provided a brilliant platform for the chase.
After scoring 42 off just 19 balls, Watson got out in the 6th over to the debutant Tom Curran. Having scored 75/1 in 6 overs, the hosts were well and truly in with a shot at the target. Andre Russell and Sunil Narine bowled back to back tight overs that built the pressure on the batsmen and as a result, Rayudu departed in the bid to go for the big one.
Dhoni walked in at No.4 and joined Suresh Raina in the middle who wasn’t able to find his timing. Narine accounted for his wicket in the 12th over and suddenly, the target seemed distant. Dhoni began to open his shoulders and the new man Sam Billings too got going without wasting any time that brought CSK back in the game.
The hosts needed 58 runs from the last 5 overs and that’s when Narine slipped in another tight over that mounted the pressure and resulted in Dhoni’s wicket in the next over of Piyush Chawla for 25. Sam Billings clobbered 3 sixes in the next couple of overs to bring up his fifty. Just when he looked set to take his side home, Curran sent him back in the penultimate over.
The thrilling final over
CSK required 17 runs from the last 6 balls while Vinay Kumar had the responsibility with the ball. The over began with a huge blunder as the pacer bowled a no-ball and Dwayne Bravo parked it in the crowd. The next 4 balls yielded 6 runs that left 4 to get from the last 2 balls. Vinay tried the changeup but Ravindra Jadeja was just waiting for that one. A staggering six over long-on sealed the game as the hosts won the game by 5 wickets and secured their second consecutive win.
Chennai Super Kings won the toss and opted to bowl first
Kolkata Knight Riders: 202/6 in 20 overs
Andre Russell 88* (36), Robin Uthappa 29 (16)
Shane Watson 39/2 (4), Harbhajan Singh 11/1 (2)
Chennai Super Kings: 205/5 in 19.5 overs
Sam Billing 56 (23), Shane Watson 42 (19)
Tom Curran 39/2 (4), Sunil Narine 17/1 (4)
Chennai Super Kings won by 5 wickets
Player of the Match: Sam Billings