The Chennai Super Kings displaced the Kolkata Knight Riders from the top of the VIVO IPL 2019 standings after they defeated them by seven wickets in Match 23. After opting to bowl on a dry-looking surface at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, the Super Kings bowled brilliantly to restrict the visitors to 108-9 and then chased down the runs in the 18thover.
Shane Watson and Suresh Raina took toll of the hard new ball and made things easy for the batsmen who followed; Watson struck two fours and a six in his 9-ball 17, while Raina hit a four and a six in his 13-ball 14. Faf du Plessis, who opened the innings, and Ambati Rayudu (21 from 31 ball) then added 46 runs for the third wicket to put the Super Kings firmly in control. After Rayudu was dismissed, du Plessis (43 not out) completed the job in the company of Kedar Jadhav (8 not out).
Earlier, the Kolkata Knight Riders, put in to bat, committed hara-kiri very early in the match; their batsmen paid the price for playing aggressive aerial strokes without judging the pace of the pitch. The opener Chris Lynn was trapped LBW by an inswinger, but most of the other batsmen failed to adjust to the slowness of the surface and either holed out to strategically placed fielders or were stumped by a mile. The visitors slipped to 47 for 6 when Shubman Gill was dismissed at the start of the eleventh over. It took a mature innings from Andre Russell – who rode his luck, but applied himself well thereafter – to guide KKR to 108-9. The biggest partnership in the KKR innings was worth 29 runs; Russell and Piyush Chawla added 29 for the seventh wicket, and then the last wicket pair of Russell and Harry Gurney were involved in an unbeaten 29-run stand.
For the Super Kings, Deepak Chahar picked up three wickets, while the spin trio combined well for returns of 5 for 53 from their 12 overs. Scott Kuggeleijn was the only CSK bowler to return wicketless.
Standout batting performances
Faf du Plessis’ experience came to the fore in the Super Kings’ run-chase; knowing that the required run rate was well under a run-a-all, the South African initially focussed on picking the singles, ensuring his team slowly but surely firmed up their grip on the match. It was not until the eleventh over that du Plessis collected his first boundary. He then switched back to collecting the singles, before finishing off with a flourish; du Plessis finished unbeaten on 43 from 45 balls.
Earlier in the evening, Andre Russell had the opportunity to walk in as early as the ninth over. Soon after, he watched Shubman Gill – the last of the recognised batsmen – take the long walk to the dressing room. The Jamaican had his anxious moments against the KKR spinners, and didn’t get off the mark until after he’d faced six deliveries. Despite the conditions being tough, he did not throw his wicket away, and was intent on batting the entire twenty overs. He had a little bit of luck go his way; he should’ve been dismissed on 8 when Harbhajan Singh didn’t get anywhere under a skier, and one run later when Ravindra Jadeja created an opportunity at the midwicket boundary but couldn’t cling on to the ball.
Russell capitalised on those chances, carried on batting and finished unbeaten on 50; he added 14 runs to his tally in the 20th over bowled by Scott Kuggeleijn. Russell’s 44-ball knock contained five fours and three sixes.
Standout Bowling performance
Harbhajan Singh bowled beautifully. The Super Kings off-spinner bowled like the spinners of old – bowling slower through the air, hitting the good lengths repeatedly but playing around with the lines – and finished with outstanding figures of 2-21. Harbhajan opened the bowling at the other end and struck with his fifth ball when he dished one wide outside the off stump and forced Sunil Narine to create his own momentum; the mishit was caught by the fielder at point. In his final over, he collected the wicket of Piyush Chawla, who charged down only to be beaten in the air and by a delivery bowled wide, allowing MS Dhoni to complete a comfortable stumping.
Imran Tahir was the other impressive bowler for CSK; the leg-spinner’s duel with Andre Russell was very exciting. Tahir was brought on in the ninth over and had the KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik caught at short midwicket in his very first over. In his second over, he beat Shubman Gill with a googly, the ball slipped through the gate and MS Dhoni effected a brilliant stumping.
Tahir bowled half his spell to Russell – conceding only seven runs; he should have the wicket of the Jamaican too, but Harbhajan Singh settled down under a skier but couldn’t get fingertips to the swerving ball. Tahir ended his four overs with figures of 2-21.
Notable Support Act – Bowling
On a wicket that was conducive to the spinners, Deepak Chahar returned as most successful bowler in the match. The pacer dismissed Chris Lynn with an inswinger in the very first over, then had Nitish caught at short midwicket in his second over, and struck for a third time when he had Robbie Uthappa caught at deep midwicket. Chahar bowled very smartly, generally bowling back of a length and not giving the batsmen any pace to play with. He was called on to bowl the nineteenth over – in which he bowled five dot balls and conceded one six – to eventually finish with impressive figures of 4-0-20-3. Chahar’s spell contained 20 dot balls!
Chennai Super Kings: 111-3 in 17.2 overs (Faf du Plessis 43*, Sunil Narine 2-24) defeated Kolkata Knight Riders: 109-9 (Andre Russell 50*, Deepak Chahar 3-20, Harbhajan Singh 2-15, Imran Tahir 2-21) by 7 wickets.
Stat of the Match
The Kolkata Knight Riders innings contained 75 dot deliveries. Chahar bowled 20 dot balls, while the spin trio bowled 45 dot balls in their 12 overs combined.
Man of the Match:
Deepak Chahar, for his spell 3-20.