Chennai Super Kings continued their winning streak as they defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets to stretch their lead at the top of the VIVO IPL points table on Sunday evening. After winning the toss and choosing to bowl at the Eden Gardens, MS Dhoni’s bowlers pulled KKR back and restricted them to 161-8 in their 20 overs, and held their nerve to reach their target with two balls to spare.
Kolkata Knight Riders, who have now lost three matches on the bounce, including both their fixtures against CSK, began their innings in blazing fashion thanks to the return of regular opener Chris Lynn, who top-scored with 82 from 51 balls. Their 50 was brought up soon after the Powerplay, and the 100 came up shortly after the 13th as KKR were setting up for a final flourish, but CSK’s spinners struck at regular intervals and didn’t allow the home side to get away.
Imran Tahir’s four-wicket haul sparked an unlikely collapse for KKR, and an even rarer failure for Andre Russell, whose run of scores over 40 finally came to an end as he perished to Tahir for 10. KKR’s innings failed to get going after Lynn’s wicket, as they could only add 39 runs in their last six overs. After Lynn’s 82, the next highest scorer in the KKR line-up was Nitish Rana with 21, as CSK’s spinners shared five wickets between them.
In reply, CSK’s run chase also followed a similar pattern as the KKR spinners controlled the middle overs, but Suresh Raina’s first half-century of the 2019 VIVO IPL ensured the visitors were home. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu’s single figure scores put pressure on the rest of the batsmen, and none of Faf du Plessis, KedarJadhav or Dhoni converted their starts, perishing to the KKR spinners.
Dhoni’s dismissal in the 16th over put pressure on Raina and Jadeja, but with 24 needed off the last two overs, Jadeja thrashed the first three balls of Harry Gurney’s 19th over for boundaries to bring the equation down to a more manageable one. Raina, who remained unbeaten on 58, and Jadeja’s unbeaten 31 ensured CSK finished on the winning side in the last over, although under less dramatic circumstances than against Rajasthan Royals in their previous game.
Standout batting performance
Suresh Raina has been guilty of not converting any of his starts in the 2019 IPL, and the only other significant contribution he made with the bat was in the game against Rajasthan Royals in Chennai, where had scored 32. Needing to buckle down while losing partners at the other end, Raina first settled in, negated the threat of the short ball from the quick bowlers, ran hard and picked crucial boundaries to get going. The standout feature of his innings were the four leg glance boundaries he scored both off spin and pace, as the KKR bowlers erred in line against the stylish left-hander. A solid player of spin, Raina then capitalized against the spinners, and his seven fours and a six ensured the runs kept coming to relieve the pressure.
After recovering from a bout of flu that made him miss KKR’s tie against Delhi Capitals, Chris Lynn made instant impact at the top of the order. Narine had barely got off the mark when Lynn had begun teeing off, and raced to his half-century in no time. Lynn’s batting against spin has improved dramatically, and he was able to counter the three-pronged spin attack of CSK, featuring Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir. Lynn was particularly harsh on Jadeja, but finally perished to Tahir in the 15th over trying to look for boundaries. His 51-ball stay included 7 fours and 6 sixes.
Notable Support Act – Batting
It may not look much, but Ravindra Jadeja’s 17-ball unbeaten 31 was worth its weight in gold in the CSK run chase. When he had arrived at the crease, CSK still needed 41 runs in four overs, and he knocked off majority of those runs riding his luck and with some aggressive batting. His innings contained five boundaries, three of which were hit off consecutive balls in the 19th over bowled by Gurney as CSK’s equation came down to virtually run a ball, and they were able to knock off the remaining runs with ease.
Standout bowling performance
Tahir surged to the top of the Purple Cap standings thanks to his performance against Kolkata Knight Riders, as his 4-27 didn’t allow the batsmen to get away. He picked two wickets in an over twice to derail the KKR innings just when it looked like they would score in excess of 180, but Tahir’s breakthroughs, which included Nitish Rana, Robbie Uthappa, Chris Lynn and Andre Russell, ensured they were restricted to a below-par total.
Sunil Narine has been gaining more popularity as an opening batsman rather than his more recognized talent as a mystery spinner, while the KKR bowling group as a whole has also been criticized for having taken the least number of wickets this VIVO IPL season. All that was changed as Narine accounted for the set Faf du Plessis for 24 to bring KKR back into the game, and then trapped Dhoni in front of the stumps with a superb off-spinner for 16. Narine’s figures of 2-19 from his four overs ensured the game was pushed into the last few overs.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 161-8 (Chris Lynn 82, Imran Tahir 4-27, Shardul Thakur 2-18) lost to Chennai Super Kings: 162-5 (Suresh Raina 58*, RavindraJ adeja 31*, Sunil Narine 2-19) by 5 wickets
Stat of the Match:
CSK’s victory over KKR was their first at the Eden Gardens since 2013.
Narine dismissed Dhoni for the first time in the VIVO IPL.
Chris Lynn reached 1000 runs for KKR in the VIVO IPL.
Man of the Match:
Imran Tahir, for his figures of 4-27.