Kolkata: The cruelty of the game could not have been personified better than at the Eden Gradens as Rajat Bhatia bowled 5 superb deliveries to keep KKR’s hope of a win in their last game at home, but alas, the medium pacers’ nerves gave away in the final ball as a low full toss of the last ball was dispatched by Dwayne Bravo. Needing 5 off the last ball, Bravo hit a six and Chennai Super Kings won by five wickets here at the Eden Gardens on Monday.
Both the innings from KKR and CSK were near mirror images with the openers firing up the order only to be sent packing in quick succession and a late flurry from the middle order helping the respective team’s cause.
With 27 required of 12 balls, CSK were under the pump. KKR had managed 22 off the last 2 overs. Gambhir gave the ball to Marchant de Lange and the skipper MS Dhoni exploded with an array of brutal hits – 6, 4, 4 off the first three balls set the tone and the duo of Dhoni and Bravo got 18 runs off the over.
9 off the last over medium pacer Rajat Bhatia conceded just 5 runs off the first five balls. He bowled to his strengthens—slower ones, leg cutter and off cutters. He even got the better of the best finisher of the game. Bhatia castled Dhoni and after conceding 22 off his previous three overs, Bhatia gave away 11 off the final, cruelty being, his first five balls won’t be discussed further as his last ball would be scrutinized to the hilt.
Michael Hussey (56) and Murrali Vijay (36) had managed to match up to their counterparts Gambhir (62)-McCullum (37) at the start of their innings compiling a solid 90+ partnership in the first 11 overs. By the time KKR reached 100 runs, Gambhir and McCullum had departed – even Hussey and Vijay followed suit going back to the pavilion before CSK could reach their 100.
KKR’s trump card Sunil Narine (4-0-14-2) had given KKR a lease of life in the game accounting for both the openers in a single over.
Kolkata had faltered after the dismissal off their openers and in similar fashion Chennai wavered with the departure of their openers. Raina (8) and du Plessis (13) went back to the pavilion with contributing much as Kallis (4), Tiwary (12) and Pathan (11) did for KKR.
But in the end the deciding factor was that 19th over bowled by Marchant deLange in which Dhoni milked 18 runs to give CSK a sniff at victory.
With this win Chennai are back in the reckoning for playoffs and the resurgent champions now look as dangerous as ever.