CSK hold nerve, clinch thriller

CSK hold nerve, clinch thriller

Defending champs edge out KKR by two runs

CSK hold nerve, clinch thriller

Chennai Super Kings’ Anirudha Srikkanth en route to his half-century against Kolkata Knight Riders. PTIIndian Premier League’s biggest underachievers came out of their opening match against defending champions Chennai Super Kings with their reputation intact, managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory here at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Friday. For the record, Super Kings, after managing a competitive 153 for four, restricted the Knight Riders to 151 for seven to eke out a thrilling two-run win.   

Well in control of the proceedings at 112 for two chasing Super Kings’ achievable total, Knight Riders suffered a mid-innings seizure to slip to 120 for five to give CSK an opening, but Manoj Tiwary’s (27, 15b, 1x4, 2x6) lusty blows reduced the equation to nine off the final over. Tim Southee gave away two off the opening ball but dismissed Laxmi Ratan Shukla with the next. The right-arm quick conceded just five runs off the next four deliveries to give CSK a winning start and driving the capacity crowd into a delirium.      

The victory didn’t come without MS Dhoni’s Midas touch. The captain cool had his hand in four dismissals (three stumpings and one run-out) as Chennai stormed back into the match from a seemingly hopeless position. Jacques Kallis (54, 42b, 7x4) produced a fine all-round performance that helped the Kolkata outfit to the threshold of victory but with the dismissal of the South African the rot set in.

Chasing the tricky target on a two-paced wicket, Kolkata got off to an excellent start with Manvinder Bisla (27) and Kallis adding a vital 64 in just 53 balls. Yusuf Pathan threatened to put a quick end to the chase but he was smartly run out by Dhoni. Eoin Morgan and skipper Gautam Gambhir, who strangely held himself back, lasted very little as Kolkata’s chase lost its direction.

Despite the initial profligacy from their bowlers and largesse from their fielders, Knight Riders fought back well to contain the Super Kings in the middle stages of the innings after the hosts opted to bat first. Murali Vijay went for an extravagant shot early in his innings but failed to clear Rajat Bhaita at mid-on. The big loss, however, did little stop either Anirudha Srikkanth or Suresh Raina as they picked boundaries with great ease in the Power Play period.

The left-right combination was also immensely benefitted by KKR fielders’ large heartedness with Yusuf Pathan being the main culprit. The off-spinning all-rounder dropped a simple return catch from Srikkanth when the batsman was only on 11. Making best use of the reprieve, the right-hander raced to 39 when he offered another simple catch at mid-wicket to Eoin Morgan off Yusuf but the Irishman somehow allowed the ball to slip through his fingers.

Meanwhile, Yusuf had grassed Raina, on 14 then, off paceman Lakshmipathy Balaji and the left-hander took 20 more runs off KKR bowlers before holing out to Sarabjit Ladda at mid-wicket off Yusuf. The pair by then had raised 75 runs off just 57 balls but the innings began to lose steam as KKR bowlers, especially Balaji, tied the batsman down with some accurate bowling. Dhoni did try to inject some urgency by lifting leg-spinner Ladda over long-on fence but departed soon failing to negotiate a well-disguised bouncer from Kallis.

A well-set Srikkanth too failed to pace his innings as he failed to clear the field. While the 23-year-old faced just 43 balls to reach his 50, he could score only 14 of the next 12 balls he faced. And when Kallis cleaned him up in the final over, CSK appeared to go under 150 but Morkel and Scott Styris scored 15 runs off the last four balls to finish with a flourish.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: Anirudha b Kallis 64 (55b, 6x4, 2x6), Vijay c Bhatia b Abdulla 4 (4b, 1x4), Raina c Ladda b Yusuf 33 (29b, 4x4), Dhoni c Bisla b Kallis 29 (21b, 1x4, 1x6), Morkel (not out) 15 (9b, 1x4, 1x6), Styris (not out) 5 (2b, 1x4). Extras (B-1, W-2) 3. Total (for 4 wkts, 20 overs) 153.
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Vijay), 2-80 (Raina), 3-129 (Dhoni), 4-138 (Anirudha).
Bowling: Abdulla 4-0-26-1, Yusuf 3-0-19-2 (w-2), Balaji 4-0-25-0, Kallis 3-0-34-2, Ladda 3-0-29-0, Bhatia 3-0-19-0.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 32/1; 10: 78/1; 15: 107/2; End of innings: 153/4 in 20 overs.  
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 45/1.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Bisla st Dhoni b Jakati 27 (29b, 3x4), Kallis c Badrinath b Ashwin 54 (42b, 7x4), Yusuf (run out) 11 (12b, 1x6), Tiwary st Dhoni b Randiv 27 (15b, 1x4, 2x6), Morgan st Dhoni b Raina 6 (6b, 1x4), Gambhir (run out) 1 (2b), Shukla c Styris b Southee 14 (10b, 2x4), Bhatia (not out) 0 (1b), Abdulla (not out) 3 (3b). Extras (LB-1, W-7) 8. Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 151.
Fall of wickets: 1-64 (Bisla), 2-93 (Yusuf), 3-112 (Kallis), 4-119 (Morgan), 5-120 (Gambhir), 6-145 (Tiwary), 7-147 (Shukla). 
Bowling: Morne Morkel 3-0-32-0 (w-1), Tim Southee 4-0-30-1, Ravichandran Ashwin 4-0-26-1 (w-5), Suraj Randiv 4-0-33-1 (w-1), Shadab Jakati 4-0-26-1, Suresh Raina 1-0-3-1.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 44/0; 10: 76/1; 15: 111/2; End of Innings: 151/7 in 20 overs.  
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 52/0.