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CSK pips KKR in another nail-biting final over finish

Andre Russell
CSK pips KKR in another nail-biting final over finish
©ians
 

Chennai Super Kings (205-5) returned to their home ground at Chepauk with a thrilling 5-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (202-6) in a match that went down to the wire.

SCORECARD

CSK were back in action at their home turf in Chennai after almost three years. There was a lot of build up and expectations around the CSK-KKR encounter and the match did not fall short of delivering on this front. All went as per script for Chennai as they chased down a 200+ total with a six from Ravindra Jadeja to finish off proceedings.

MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to field first on a somewhat sluggish pitch at Chepauk. KKR sent out their regular opening pair of Sunil Narine (12) and Chris Lynn (22) to bat. Narine hit Deepak Chahar (1-18-0) for a couple of towering sixes, threatening to take off from where he had left at the Wankhede stadium a couple of days back.

Harbhajan Singh (2-11-1) and Shane Watson (4-39-2) then pulled things back for CSK. Bhajji got Narine caught on the third ball of his over as the pinch hitter miscued a slog sweep. It was Jadeja’s (2-19-1) turn next to chip in who got the ball to squeeze through Chris Lynn to shatter his stumps.

Suresh Raina then set the Chepauk alight with a brilliant fielding effort followed by a direct hit which saw the dangerous looking Robin Uthappa (29) walk back to the pavilion. After the departure of KKR’s vice-captain, skipper Dinesh Karthik (26) got involved in a solid 76-run partnership with Andre Russell (88, SR: 244.44). It was Russell’s day as he connected almost every delivery as it sailed out of the park. Russell’s destructive 88-run knock with record 11 sixes paved the way for KKR to pile up a total in excess of 200.

Chasing a mammoth target, CSK had no option but to tread on a hitting spree from the word go and this is what Chennai openers Shane Watson (42, SR: 221.05) and Ambati Rayudu (39, SR: 150) followed in letter and spirit. Both opening batsman launched an attack on the KKR bowlers and took the total to 75 within the Powerplay overs.

It was young English Pacer Tom Curran (3-39-2) who removed the Aussie and also gave him a little send off on his way out. CSK who were going at more than 12 runs per over, lost a bit of their momentum after Watson’s departure as the spin duo of Sunil Narine (4-17-1) and Kuldeep Yadav (3-27-1) pulled back things for KKR.

Soon, Rayudu also departed in an attempt to push the scoring rate off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav. It was now left to the experienced pair of Suresh Raina (14) and MS Dhoni (25) to take their team over the line, something that they have done over and over again in the past.

However, it was not to be as Raina soon pulled his calf muscle and struggled to run between the wickets. In an attempt to hoik the ball over mid wicket, Raina mistimed the ball and was caught in the deep. Although Dhoni dealt a couple of powerful blows in the over of Kuldeep Yadav, he failed to get his timing right and soon met the same fate as Raina as he was caught by Dinesh Karthik behind the wickets off Piyush Chawla (4-49-1).

Usually a top order batsman, Sam Billings (56) was slotted in the middle order in this match and boy did he prove his worth!

Billings, striking close to 250 looked in supreme touch from the moment he came out to bat. With 5 sixes and 2 fours, he took CSK very close to a win but succumbed to a slower one from compatriot Tom Curran.

Ravindra Jadeja (11) and Dwayne Bravo (11) then were successful in scoring valuable boundaries before Jadeja slammed a six of the penultimate ball of the match to seal a win for CSK.

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