A gritty bowling performance from Kolkata Knight Riders powered them to a 10-run victory over Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday (October 7) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Chasing KKR’s total of 167, which was looking below par in the innings break, CSK could only muster up 157/5 from their 20 Overs.
CSK were cruising towards victory at one stage but KKR bowlers sparked a tremendous turnaround to grasp the victory from the jaws of defeat.
Watson (50 off 40 balls; 4x6, 6x1) and Rayudu threatened to take the game away on their own at one stage but KKR were up for the fight. The duo stitched a brilliant 69-run stand for the second wicket to put CSK in control of the game. Faf du Plessis was dismissed for 17 by Shivam Mavi earlier on and fell just 4 runs shy of winning the Orange Cap.
Rayudu (30 off 27 balls) got out to Nagarkoti after playing a rash shot. He was followed to the pavilion by Watson soon afterwards.
Sunil Narine was brought late into the attack by Karthik with a huge task ahead of him. He showcased his quality by removing Watson leg before wicket on just the seventh ball of his spell.
Watson was well set, having completed his fifty, and was threatening to take his side to a huge victory. His dismissal changed the tide completely with KKR tightening the screws on the CSK batsmen.
What KKR did well was to ensure that CSK batsmen never take game by the scruff of the neck. Their pacers Cummins, Mavi and Nagarkoti ensured that they bowled tight lines, even if they couldn't get hold of the wickets.
Dhoni promoted himself up the order but couldn't do much as he was bowled by Varun Chakravarthy for just 11 off 12 balls. Spinners Narine and Chakravarthy bowled economically, taking full advantage of the slower conditions.
Curran sent as the pinch hitter was dismissed for 17 (off 11 balls) by Andre Russell. Bowling at the death, Andre Russell gave away just 18 runs from his two overs to ensure KKR’s victory. With 39-runs needed from the final three overs, CSK still had a stake in the game but Russell gave away just 3 runs in the 18th over while also removing Curran to put the final nail in the coffin.
Jadeja tried to throw the kitchen sink at it but it was too late. The seasoned Kedar Jadhav also flattered to deceive with his 7 off 12 balls at a crucial juncture in the game.
Earlier, KKR had won the toss and opted to bat first. In a change to their batting lineup, Rahul Tripathi opened the innings with Shubman Gill, instead of the heavy-hitting Sunil Narine. The decision proved unerring as the duo added 37 runs for the opening wicket.
While Shubman Gill was dismissed caught behind by Shardul Thakur, Tripathi looked in tremendous touch and continued with the onslaught. Anything in his zone was sent to the ropes.
CSK bowlers did well in the middle overs with Karn Sharma, brought in-place of Piyush Chawla, justifying his inclusion with a spell of 4-0-25-2. Dwayne Bravo celebrated his 37th birthday on the field with 3 wickets while Sam Curran and Thakur chipped in with two apiece.
While wickets kept falling at the other end, Tripathi kept going at it and was finally dismissed for 81. His innings came of 51 balls and was studded with 8 fours and three sixes. Small but vital contributions from Eoin Morgan and Pat Cummins ensured that KKR finished at a competitive score.
Tripathi was crowned the man of the match for his knock which laid the foundation for his side.
With their third victory, KKR have jumped to the third position in the points table while lacklustre CSK have a lot of thinking to do if they want bring their campaign back on track.